Archiving Eden: Exchange presents x-ray images of 5,000 seeds — the smallest number required to preserve a single plant species. Housed within a vault-like structure, the installation by artist Dornith Doherty comes to life during seed exchange events, where visitors are invited to take home an image from the vault’s walls and replace it with a transparent envelope containing a single Canadian seed. Over time, the installation will change both physically and visually: from representational to actual, dark to light.
The seeds available for exchange are representative of common agricultural crops grown in Canada, including soy, corn and beans, as well as a variety of native wild plant species. The black-and-white x-rays lining the installation’s walls were captured by Doherty in collaboration with scientists at several international seed banks.
MOCA presents Archiving Eden: Exchange as the fifth installment of Art in Use, a series devoted to exploring the ways in which museums can be socially and politically useful. With Archiving Eden: Exchange, viewers are encouraged to examine their collective responsibility to care for the environment while reflecting on the monumental effort required to safeguard biodiversity. At the close of the exhibition, the 5,000 seeds will be donated to the Toronto Botanical Garden Seed Library — a collection of vegetable, herb and flower seeds that growers can borrow from and donate to.
The Power of a Single Seed
With Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti
Join us for a 15-minute drop-in workshop on how to grow a native Ontario plant from a single seed. Native plants have evolved over millennia to thrive in a specific climate and are an integral part of our environment. They offer food, shelter and ecosystems for wildlife and humans alike. Each day of the workshop series will feature a different plant variety. You will learn about its characteristics, its importance to wildlife, as well as the basics of seed stratification and preparing a seed to grow in its preferred environment. At the end of the workshop, you will leave with a seed that is already stratified, or one that you can stratify to grow at home.
Free, drop-in, all ages, 1-4 pm