With Unearthed, Rahel Oberhummer focused on microorganisms from the permafrost, a subsurface layer of soil that remains below freezing point throughout the year, in the canton of Grisons. These microbes have been preserved for millennia at sub-zero temperatures in a unique ecosystem which climate change has now put under threat. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL have taken samples to study them in artificial conditions. The Swiss artist took some of these microbes from the lab to her workshop, where she cultivated and photographed them in their Petri dishes. She monitored their rapid and random evolution. Out of nowhere, life suddenly flourished, forms and colours changed constantly until the resources were exhausted. These abject and attractive compositions became uncontrollable visual subjects. The publication features texts by WSL scientists as well as art historical, psychological and sociological essays. Information on the microorganisms and theirs special abilities and occurrences give the reader the opportunity to get to know the protagonists of the images.


Ivano Brunner
Lara Cristiano
Beat Frey
Marcia Phillips
Joel Rüthi
Jonas Schnydrig
Beat Stierli
Larissa Tiki Mbassi 


17 × 23.5 cm
224 pages
Offset printing
CHF 45.00
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