How does our secular society manage its heritage and, with that, it's future? By collecting and archiving data with near-religious zeal: human DNA in the form of slivers of the umbilical cord, dental samples, and sperm; DNA of animals already extinct in the wild; the seeds of all manner of (agricultural) plants. And, of course, vast quantities of digital data that we leave behind on the endless data pathways of the Internet, credit card statements, and official registers.
From 2009 to 2013, Swiss photographer Yann Mingard documented our mania for collection and storage in images that raise many of the unasked but pressing questions of our time. Do propagation technologies transform the human prosthetic God into a veritable demiurge? Does the obsessive collection of data perhaps even mask a sense of unease at the disappearance of religious rituals and doctrines? What is the significance of diverse plant and animal species that exist only as rare individual specimens in laboratories, zoos, and botanical seedbanks? Will the age-old fantasy of eternal life one day become a real biological and medical possibility?
Mingard’s meticulously documented images are divided into four chapters — “Plants,” “Animals,” “Humans,” and “Data” — and alternate with an extensive glossary of technical terms. Deposit thus presents a comprehensive compendium of the subject matter.
Edited by Florian Ebner, Daniela Janser, Thomas Seelig
Size: 23,5 x 17,5 cm, 279 pages
Publisher: Steidl, 2014