Precious things and stuff we don't like _ 2009

In 2008 on Svalbard in Norway a huge seed bank was opened. It can hold a reserve of 4,5 million seed species of the world’s crops which is to protect thousands of foodstuffs from climate changes, wars (including nuclear wars) and natural disasters. 'Precious Things And Stuff We Don’t Like' is a seed bank that stores and presents seeds from all of the plant species in a small wasteland site in Nørrebro in Copenhagen. The site covers an area of 1716 m2 and 124 species in total were registered. It is situated in a place where urbanity is a constant presence and green oases are in short supply. This little haven of an untended garden lies behind a tall fence and the vegetation includes a wealth of modest weeds, indigenous species, immigrant and invasive plants mixed with a few random garden varieties. Many of them are or have been used medicinally, while others are decidedly utility plants, such as the potato or the apple tree.

Seed banks are a kind of Noah’s Ark – we save, but in the selection process, exclusions are also made. They express a potential, but also the dread and doomsday prophesy they materialise. Furthermore there is an enormous power in having the earth’s crops in seed form, the germ of life. Berner’s seed bank explores as subject and metaphor what criteria
govern which of nature’s resources we preserve and secure. And should we even preserve and secure rather than adapt?

'Precious Things ans Stuff We Don't Like' also discusses local town planning strategies and the lack of will to biological diversity. Wastelands and the plants growing in these places are not prioritised as an asset in regular town planning.

The exhibited seeds were later used in the public permanent garden 'Den Urbane Have / The Urban Garden' that was established at Professionshøjskolen Metropol in Copenhagen in 2010. The leftovers of the seedbank was permanently installed inside at the campus.

Dimensions incl. plinth; 160x45x45 cm (pyramide; 35,5x40,24,5 cm). Materials; seeds, tube glasses, rubber plugs, labels, wood, glass, cooling unit. The seeds are kept in a montre cooled down to +5 C°. 

Exhibition; Deep Green Den Frie_Center of Contemporary of Art, Copenhagen. Curated by Sebastian Schiørring and Camilla Berner