Michael John Whelan
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Darkness had no need
In the black dark for good
Carapace
That we were to wait
Like force and matter
Only in
Lupus
20 Vertices, 30 Edges
and 160 Diagonals

In Embers (Dodecahedron)
Dune
Transit of Venus
Over the echoing gateway
Stars & Star
Shadowplay
Archway (diptych)
Carapace (1)
2016
silver gelatin print on Dibond
120 x 120cm
(1/4) Next



The series of nine close up photographs in the series Carapace captures the ice-encrusted walls inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. With a constant temperature of -18 °C, the vault is built 120 meters inside the sandstone mountain Platåberget on Spitsbergen Island, far from tectonic activity, war and rising water levels. There are three vaults inside the structure with only one active, the other vaults are for the future with a maximum capacity of 2.25 billion seeds. For this photographic project only the walls of an empty vault were photographed, drawing attention to both the absence of the intended function as storage, and the potentiality for the future. The images exist both as abstract representations and as a documentations of the crystallization process that takes place in this extreme environment.