The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) is located on the outskirts of the remote, arctic town of Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between the North Pole and Norway. It is also known as the “Doomsday Vault”. A biological safety deposit box, the SGSV has been compared to Noah’s Ark, and a back-up hard drive. The seeds stored here are duplicate samples held in seed banks worldwide — they provide insurance against extinction in the case of large scale regional or global catastrophes. The facility is about 130 meters above sea level and has been tunnelled 120 meters into the mountain, in a stable geologic formation. The location is built to be so far below ground that it guarantees stable permafrost and is high enough above sea level to secure the facility against any rise in sea level as a result of global warming, nuclear attack, and earth quakes.
The Cold Coast Archive project investigates and explores human beings’ efforts to preserve civilization and defy the inevitability of its demise. It investigates Svalbards Global Seed Vaults practical, political, historical and symbolic structure, its arctic location, as well as its infrastructure and cultural nuances expressed in the local environment.
The wide range of material collected is meant to form an archieve of human perception of time between the present and eternity.
Eternity…this intangible future often leads to ideas of a larger divine plan or might well feed a desire for quick profit and short term results, accelerated by technology and market-driven economies.There is a gap between the present and eternity, a distance we often call “future generations” or “our children and grandchildren” in an attempt to relate to the distant future. It is the distance between an intense present, with major political, social and climatic challenges and an elusive future hiding beyond the horizon of our understanding that The Cold Coast Archive is relating to.
The Cold Coast Archive is sponsored by Art Council Norway, Nordic Culture Point, Nordic Culture Fund and the Long Now Foundation.
Find out more at coldcoastarchive.org