Vault: Exchange    Installed at the Ontario Science Centre Toronto, Canada  April - August 2019

Vault: Exchange

Installed at the Ontario Science Centre Toronto, Canada

April - August 2019

Vault: Exchange 2019  

Dornith Doherty’s Vault: Exchange presents 5,000 x-ray images of seeds - the total number needed to preserve a species. Housed within a transparent vault-like structure installed in the Great Hall of the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto Canada, Vault Exchange prompts active participation during three seed exchange events, where visitors are invited to help build a living seed bank onsite.

Visitors will be able to remove one artwork from the vault’s walls and replace it with a glassine envelope filled with a single Canadian seed, and then exchange their addition to the seed bank for a gift of one x-ray photograph from the vault’s walls. Doherty’s x-ray imagery was captured in collaboration with seed bank scientists as part of her long-term project Archiving Eden

Vault: Exchange encourages viewers to examine their responsibility as global citizens while reflecting on the monumental effort required to safeguard botanical biodiversity. It also highlights the environmental and political instabilities that instigated the collaborative scientific effort to generate a backup system for Earth’s fragile botanical life. At the end of the exhibition, the 5,000 seeds will be donated to the Toronto Botanical Garden Seed Library.

Over the duration of the exhibition from April until August of 2019, the vault-like structure will change physically and visually, from representational to actual, and from dark to light.

Sunflower Seed  Archival pigment on paper 2.75” x 2.75”

Sunflower Seed

Archival pigment on paper 2.75” x 2.75”

Vault: Exchange detail of photographs and envelopes of seeds. Community participants are asked to choose a wild or agricultural seed to place in the vault, and are given the photographic print they removed from the vault’s wall during the exchange.

Vault: Exchange

Interior View

Vault: Exchange interior back wall, April 2019

5,115 X-ray photographs

Vault: Exchange interior back wall, May 2019  Interior back wall after the first exchange event in May 2019. Community participants were asked to choose a wild or agricultural seed to place in the vault, and were given the photographic print they removed from the vault’s wall during the exchange.

Vault: Exchange interior back wall, May 2019

Interior back wall after the first exchange event in May 2019. Community participants were asked to choose a wild or agricultural seed to place in the vault, and were given the photographic print they removed from the vault’s wall during the exchange.


Vault Exchange exterior detail