This past week, Rachel Sussman’s colossal photography project—and its associated book—The Oldest Living Things in the World, which documents her attempts to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older, was profiled by the New Yorker:
To find the oldest living thing in New York City, set out from Staten Island’s West Shore Plaza mall (Chuck E. Cheese’s, Burlington Coat Factory, D.M.V.). Take a right, pass Industry Road, go left. The urban bleakness will fade into a litter-strewn route that bisects a nature preserve called Saw Mill Creek Marsh. Check the tides, and wear rubber boots; trudging through the muddy wetlands is necessary.
The other day, directions in hand, Rachel Sussman, a photographer from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, went looking for the city’s most antiquated resident: a colony of Spartina alterniflora or Spartina patens cordgrass which, she suspects, has been cloning and re-cloning itself for millennia.
Not simply the story of a cordgrass selfie, Sussman’s pursuit becomes contextualized by the lives—and deaths—of our fragile ecological forbearers, and her desire to document their existence while they are still of the earth. In support of the project, Sussman has a series of upcoming events surrounding The Oldest Living Things in the World. You can read more at her website, or see a listing of public events below:
Imagining Deep Time (a cultural program of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC), on view from August 28, 2014 to January 15, 2015
Another Green World, an eco-themed group exhibition at NYU’s Gallatin Galleries, featuring Nina Katchadourian, Mitchell Joaquim, William Lamson, Mary Mattingly, Melanie Baker and Joseph Heidecker, on view from September 12, 2014 to October 15, 2014
Sept 18th: a discussion in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences exhibition Imagining Deep Time for DASER (DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous), Washington, DC (free and open to the public)
Nov 20th: an artist’s talk at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
To read more about The Oldest Living Things in the World, click here.