Upcoming Book Alice
My project started with a long-shot of a proposal to visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a facility that stores a global backup of seeds from world’s most vital crop life. In the case of changing climates, rising tides, outbreaks of war, and other environmentally altering scenarios, the Global Seed Vault hosts the reboot of crop seeds we need to survive.
I had planned to create a book that contains the desperation of the need for a seed vault; depicting a juxtaposition of landscape intrusion of the Vault with a visual interpretation of our fear and uneasiness for the future of the global topographical outlook. After establishing a connection with a representative of the Vault and funding the trip, I was en route to Svalbard in October of 2016.
Almost instantaneously with my arrival, it was discovered that the Global Seed Vault had experienced unprecedented weather damage and was, until further notice, quarantined from any visitor. Due to unheard-of warm temperatures so late in the year (a clear sign of climate change), the permafrost in which the Vault is buried began to melt, slowly seeping into cracks and crevasses of the Vault’s exterior. There I was, shivering and wandering at the edge of the northernmost settlement in the world, Longyearbyen, Svalbard. After flying to the top of the world, my contact at the Vault could only convey how sorry he was not just for me, but for the unknown future of the Vault…
However, I did not let this entirely deter me! Working with the limited proximity I had to the Vault and focusing more-so on my off-road arctic exploration with the Svalbard locals, I want to use my photos to create a photography book. This book hopefully encourages further trust and collaboration between myself and those who are working with the Vault as they try to protect our future. It will be a book searching for explanations of how our world is changing, speaking through metaphors of the symbols and places that one can only find in the tundra of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. My experience quickly grew into a story more universal than personal, a story of crop life and crop loss, paying particular attention to the uneasiness of the earth below us.