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Rachel Sussman: The Oldest Living Things in the World

  • Posted by Peter Glatzer on September 18, 2014 in Art
  • For nearly a decade, Rachel Sussman has been researching and traveling the globe in search of it's oldest inhabitants. Sussman begins at 'year zero' and works back from there. Working with leading scientists, she has captured everything from multi-millenial trees to half-million-year-old bacteria. Traveling from Antarctica to the Australian Outback, Sussman has artfully catalogued these ancient survivors through her photographs and writing.  
     

    I approach my subjects as individuals of whom I’m making portraits in order to facilitate an anthropomorphic connection to a deep timescale otherwise too physiologically challenging for our brain to internalize. It’s difficult to stay in Deep Time – we are constantly drawn back to the surface. This vast timescale is held in tension with the shallow time inherent to photography. What does it mean to capture a multi-millennial lifespan in 1/60th of a second? Or for that matter, to be an organism in my 30s bearing witness to organisms that precede human history and will hopefully survive us well into future generations? 

    You can check out her exhibition in New York at Pioneer Works: Center for Art and Innovation or on her website www.rachelsussman.com


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