Solo Exhibition
Cristin Tierney, 2015
New York

A wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge, is a hypothetical two-ended tunnel that connects separate points in spacetime. Likewise, the installation for Wormhole creates a link between two tunnels that are separated by more than 3,000 years and are half a world apart. One of the tunnels is nicknamed Noah’s Ark, and it is a contemporary seed vault in the icy archipelago of Svalbard, the northernmost place in the world with a permanent population. This tunnel, or vault, was created to preserve samples of every specimen of seed known to science, in view of a cataclysm that would wipe out civilization. The other tunnel is a tomb in the desert of the Valley of the Kings in Thebes, Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile River. This tomb belonged to Ramses V and Ramses VI—dating to approximately 1145 BC—and it has the particularity of bearing representations of The Book of Aker, or Book of the Earth.

Aker is the god of the horizon, or the god of the passage from day to night, from past to future and from this world to the other world. In our contemporary nomenclature, we might be driven to call him the god of the wormhole. This tomb is, actually, the first to picture the cycle of the sun, rather than the passage of the soul to the underworld, and it shows the movement of the sun disk through the darkness before coming back to the light. The Book of Aker thus represents the quotidian resurrection of the dead, in the image of Ra, the sun. This cycle relates equally to the seed that is born again from the darkness of the earth into a new plant. The Book of the Earth is also considered to be speaking about divine embryology.

The XX Dynasty was the last dynasty of the New Empire before the definitive decline of the Pharaonic civilization, and it came to be known as the Golden Age. We can infer from the records that in the XX Dynasty (1186-1069 BC) the Pharaohs would have been keenly aware of the fragility of their ecosystem, as the Egyptian civilization had recently been struck by several catastrophic climatic events that had repercussions in every layer of their society. So, in both the Egyptian and Norwegian tunnels, there is a consciousness of the earth as related to the cycles of life and death.

This is the clue to the idea of a wormhole, the meeting of the two tunnels: a tunnel in Norway, built from the year 2006 onward and finished by the year 2008 in record time (a “pharaonic endeavor,” it has been named), is a clear expression of a civilization facing extinction. It reveals the consciousness of “life after death”—in that it guards the seeds of a civilization for a time beyond its demise. This is what makes the Seed Vault a kind of tomb, like that of its predecessor, 3,000 years ago. In the same sense this bunker functions as a time capsule, always already in the future when it will be ready to recover the thread of the past, which is the present now.

Another way to speak to the link between the two tunnels could be described with the word archetype—an archetype as that which is outside of space and time. It is spaceless and timeless in that it reveals that our collective psychic dimension is always expressing eternal patterns: like the burial of the embalmed corpse, or the keeping of the seeds…in the expectation that they bloom again some day.

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