In 2008, an old dream of the United Nations finally saw the light: on the island of Svalbard, one of the safest and most peaceful places in the world, a large warehouse was built 120 meters inside a mountain. In the middle of the “permafrost”, a thick layer of soil that never melts, the Global Seed Vault was established. Since its opening eight years ago, 840.000 samples of seeds have been deposited in the Vault.
The seed is a source of life, the beginning of everything, and the Vault (also known as the “Doomsday Vault”) represents the need to protect it at all costs. As long as there are seeds, there is hope; everything that die, could blossom once again. These “frozen songs”, resting in the depth of a mountain close to the North Pole, could one day save the world.
Inspired by the Seed Vault in Svalbard, artists from different countries and different disciplines are exploring each other’s artistic language in search of a common ground: from the subtle expressions of the dancers to the huge multimedia push, from the naturalness and intuitiveness of the body language to the highly technically advanced mapping projection technology, from visual expansion to transcending electronic music.
Among them are Inger Buresund (Artistic Director at Hålogaland Teater/The Arctic Theatre) , Norwegian choreographer Ina Christel Johannessen (Zerovisibility Corp), Chinese multimedia artists Feng Jiangzhou and Zhang Lin (Sifenlv Studio), and Belgian music duo Stray Dogs. With the background of interactive multimedia and experimental electronic, dancers from Zero Visibility will present excerpts from their work-in-progress process at the opening ceremony of Shanghai Project. Frozen Songs will premiere in Tromsø, Norway 7th September 2017.
The panel focuses on a recurring trend in human history: a continuous shift in how people view societal development, navigating between optimism and anxiety.
Preoccupation towards the “degeneration of society” is not a recent phenomenon. Concerns regarding social decay have appeared in every period of change from antiquity to post-modernity. These anxieties in turn are countered by a positivist attitude that assumes development as a self-fixing mechanism. Both approaches have proved correct and wrong at various points. On the one hand what they have in common is an exaggeration that borders on scaremongering, and naiveté on the other.
Trying to move away from such heated debate, we bring the discussion more pointedly to the Svalbard Seeds Vault—an underground site where 840,000 seeds are conserved at -20º C. On the occasion of the Seeds of Time opening, members of the Frozen Songs team will share their journey into the creation of the performance “Frozen Songs.”
Fabrizio Massini, artistic director at Ibsen International will moderate the discussion. The panel will be followed by refreshments, kindly provided by the Norwegian General Consulate in Shanghai.
Ina Christel Johannessen, Zero Visibility Corp.
Feng Jiangzhou, Sifenlv New Media Studio
Robert Earley, Clean transportation consultant and COO of MotionEco
Curator / Host: Fabrizio Massini, Ibsen International
Co-curator / Interpreter: Shiya Lu, Ibsen International
Address: Himalaya Shanghai Art Museum
No. 869 Yinghua Road, Pudong District Shanghai