Part of Dreaming in Everywhen

The Great Decline

Maarten Vanden Eynde

2019 – Printed circuit boards (PCBs), various seeds
Size: 125 x 214 x 8 cm

Biodiversity is in dangerous decline. To secure the survival of as many different plant species as possible, gene banks are created and stored in seed vaults and time capsules. In 2008, Norway opened the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a collection of duplicate samples or ‘spare’ copies of seeds held in gene banks worldwide, as a fail-safe in case of regional or global crises.

In The Great Decline Vanden Eynde presents a wide variety of seeds from around the world that he organised in relation to the graphical outlines of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in a way that resembles the copper circuits on PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards, used in electronic devices and computers). The work is a reference to the ‘Lukasa’, or memory board, that was used by the Bambudye, a secret society in the Luba Kingdom in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as an archive for the topographical and chronological mapping of political histories, to recollect important people, places and mythical migration routes.


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