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.
Maarten vanden Eynde― Artist
Born in Leuven (Belgium), works in Brussels (Belgium), Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Saint Mihiel (France). Since 2003, Vanden Eynde has been developing an invented field of research called Genetology – the science of first things – as a personal counter-perspective to the existing science of Eschatology – the science of last things. Touching on numerous subjects of social and political relevance such as post-industrialism, capitalism and ecology, the exhibits in this exhibition will offer a perspective on the condition of society at the beginning of the 21st Century. Presenting these unusual objects, all constructed from a variety of natural and artificial materials, Vanden Eynde continues to build up a body of material research through the methodology of looking back towards the modern origins of “progress”.