Steve Rowell

Svalbard Global Seed Vault and the Cold Coast Archive


The Cold Coast Archive is a collaboration with Signe Lidén and Annesofie Norn that begins with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) – a starting point for investigations into, and extrapolations from the broader meaning of a remote landscape of survival, contingency, and preparedness. Buried in a frozen mountainside on the arctic island of Spitsbergen and hardened to survive a nuclear assault, the SGSV (nicknamed the “Doomsday Vault”) is the most robust seed vault in the world. It is designed to protect its contents from all imaginable worst-case scenarios, including climate change, asteroid impact, and nuclear war. Deep time, Disaster planning, Geopolitical speculation, and climate prediction are recurring themes for both the place and the project.

NEWS: The video from this project, In the Best of All Possible Worlds, has shown at the following screenings/exhibitions:

Explore the temporal, spatial, and media dimensions of Cold Coast Archive at the project website.
More photos, text, and a map at we-make-money-not-art.

  • A version of this project was exhibited at Røm8 in Bergen
  • A version of this project was exhibited at the Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh in 2012.
  • My video from this project, The Best of all Possible Worlds, was screened at one the Long Now Foundation's SALT events at Fort Mason, San Francisco in 02012.
  • My audio piece, Incidental Soundscapes: High and Low, was "performed" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in conjunction with a series of events curated by the Long Now Foundation, in 2011
  • A sound installation, Hollow Earth, using recordings from my trip to Svalbard, was exhibited at the Eternithaus, Hansaviertel in Berlin in 2011, curated by Ellen Blumenstein of The Office.