SEED CABINET
maple card catalog, video, custon electronics, glass slides, seeds


collaboration with Working Food, local non-for-profit that sponsors the Southern Heritage Seed Collective

 

(2017-in progress)

 

Seeds represent the essence of life. They contain all necessary information needed to feed a community. As food/vegetables move through different cultures, and ecosystems seeds become site-specific; the values and taste of the places where they are grown impact selection. Seed libraries protect seed varieties adapted to our region, and train community members and local farmers on seed saving techniques. Seed libraries function as repositories of genetic diversity and local knowledge, which is particularly important as society wrestles with food security and sovereignty.

 

Card catalogs, glass slides, and specimens are obsolete yet familiar cultural objects which, when activated by and hybridized with performance, video and electronics bring together multiple ways of knowing, disrupting and playing with the audience’s expectations of library, archive, and machine. In the tradition of the Wunderkammer, the drawers of a repurposed “old school” maple card catalog are filled with seed specimens of regional heirloom fruits and vegetables and images printed on glass slides. Opening the drawers triggers the playing of videos and audio narratives of our community’s lived experience of these foods: their cultivation, preparation, and history onto a video monitor embedded into the top of the card catalog.

 

Seed Cabinet is a collision point that remixes the discourse of how technical information is dispersed, blending live “lecture” with digital re-presentation of oral history, filmic instructional media, cooking shows, experimental ethnography, animation, farmer’s almanacs. Seed Cabinet includes facts but seeks to “resemble” the discourse of science” as a way to both share information about and problematize seeds, inviting the audience to dig deeper reflecting upon their role in global and local food systems.

 

Click to watch excerpt of video from the okra drawers.

Cick to watch excerpt of video of Feaster mustard.

seed cabinet art piecedetail of drawerpeople interacting with piece