The biodiversity of Palestine (part of the Fertile Crescent) is being threatened by policies that target farmers and force them to give up their heirloom seeds and adopt new hybrid varieties. The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library seeks to recover ancient seeds carrying the DNA of survival in a violent context through settlement and chemical expansions. While the seed library is an interactive art and science project that aims to provide a public space for people to exchange seeds and knowledge, it is also the subversive rebel who is of the people and is inspired by the nature of seeds that travel across borders and checkpoints, defying the violence of the landscape while reclaiming life and presence.
Jumana Manna’s film WILD RELATIVES (Forum) follows a transaction of seeds between two distant geographies: Longyearbyen on the island of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean and the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. It follows the lives of people in these two semi-deserts, who engage with the land in various ways: extracting coal out of mountains, planting the earth with seeds, escaping war in one valley, philosophizing about another. The panel plows through diverse stories of seeds to pose new questions regarding practices of collecting, re-storing, cataloguing, or annotating and about the archive, or library, as a site for exchanging and growing otherwise.
Vivien Sansour is founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, co-founder of El Beir, Arts & Seeds studio (Bethlehem).
Jumana Manna is a visual artist working primarily with film and sculpture.
All panels, talks, and presentations in English.
Photo: Video still from WILD RELATIVES (2018) by Jumana Manna © Marte Vold