Ruby Salmon, A Speculative Svalbard [×]
Digitalisation has become a new normal. Spaces and experiences that once had an actual state have become translated and diffused into a screen. Whilst this mode of encounter has enabled further accessibility, has digital actualisation of physical spaces resulted in a degree of disconnection?
A Speculative Svalbard is a research proposal that investigates the relationship between science and theatre through the digitalisation of the Svalbard Global Seed Bank in Norway.
A building of safekeeping, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault stores seeds from all over the world as a means of protection. If there are catastrophes or worldwide disasters, this building and the processes involved become a safety net. Through this act, the seeds stored are planted back into their origin, protecting the geological histories of these landscapes.
Due to the nature of this building, the experience and processes remain strictly confidential to the outside world. This project utilises theatre as a device to understand the hidden processes that surround the site of Svalbard. Techniques of gesture, film and the mise-en-scène become a means to generate a theatrical set. These techniques are complemented with the scientific information surrounding Svalbard, informing an experience that blurs the actual and the speculative; “a mediated experience, at once both historic and contemporary; real and fictional.” 
This theatrical set is highly speculative and utilises objects and props that illustrate a moment in the seed process. The inaccuracy and playfulness of these spaces allow the viewer to place their own narratives upon these spaces. This theatrical approach provides an accessible activation for Svalbard, creating an opportunity for public inclusivity and connection.
- Fryatt, Anthony. “Mediated Interior: Subjective and Empowering Productions.” PhD diss., Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, (2016).