The documentary project Deposit by the Swiss photographer Yann Mingard (°1973) confronts us with provocative and germane questions about the current state, sustainability and future of life on earth. Can we control life on the planet by collecting and storing genetic, biological and human information? Mingard went on a journey of discovery and brought back images of four types of stored information: Plants, Animals, Humans and Data.
From 2009 to 2013, Mingard visited 21 locations in Europe and North America where organic and digital data are gathered and stored. He photographed both the interior spaces of these seed banks, vaults and laboratories and the organisms themselves, the containers they are stored in and the instruments used for development and research.
But for what purpose is living matter being stored on such a grand scale? Is it to create resistant plants, to clone animals, to eliminate human disease? Why are companies and individuals storing digital data in secure bunkers?
Tellingly, Mingard had great difficulty gaining access to the storage locations. His images thus capture the paradoxical nature of these places: in order to protect and preserve life, it is hidden away in containers and closely-guarded bunkers that are sealed off from the outside world. His darkened, large-format photographs convey the secretiveness and the inaccessibility of this natural heritage.
Deposit is a collaboration between Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum Folkwang, Essen, FotoMuseum Antwerp and GwinZegal, Guincamp. With support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. The exhibition is curated by Iris Sikking