Dryas Project

Anaïs Tondeur with Crystal Bennes and Tom Jeffreys

30 Nov - 21 Dec 2015, 9am - 7pm

Bibliothèque de Biologie-Chimie-Physique Recherche (BCPR), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris

Capture d’écran 2015-11-04 à 15.49.36

Trajectoire de l'expedition sur les traces des dryas octopetala, Anais Tondeur , Encre sur papier, 2015


30 Nov - 21 Dec 2015
9am - 7pm
Opening: 2nd December from 5 to 7 pm

Also from 30th November to 30th January :
Fenêtres de la Bibliothèque de Biologie-Chimie-Physique Recherche (BCPR)
Rue des fossés St Bernard


Bibliothèque de Biologie-Chimie-Physique Recherche (BCPR), Université Pierre et Marie Curie
4 place Jussieu
Paris,  75005
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11,500 years ago glaciation hits western Europe. While the last mammoths disappear in the glacial nights, a white flowers plant, now seen in arctic latitudes, covers the frozen land. This installation shows results of an expedition on the traces of this plant.

Dryas octopetala is a solitary plant, a perennial and hermaphrodite flower. Today, it is found throughout the frozen relief of the Arctic or high pastures.

However, recent samples taken from turf cores now reveal the presence of these plants at low altitudes in western Europe. Pollen from dryas octopetala have even been discovered in French soil. Their pollen comes from the last glaciation before our time. Its is between 12,800 and 11,500 old.

Indeed, while Wurmians glaciers were beginning to retreat, the dryas was one of the first plants to re-colonise the lands freed up from the ice. Its presence was so great in north west Europ at the time a vast tundra that it gave its name to the ultimate cold oscillation that precedes the Holocene: the Younger Dryas.

From Parisian suburb to Lapland, this research sets in perspective two environments. While visual artist Anaïs Tondeur walked through landscapes inhabited by dryas octopetala more than 11 500 years ago, photograph Crystal Bennes and writer Tom Jeffreys wandered through the frozen toundra, where these plants still grow.

This double expedition has been developed as a perspective on our time. It is as though a “a step back” in the past, allows new gaze to open up to our current epoch, to see similar or different issues and solutions to bring forth. (M. Yourcenar)

This project proposes a vision that sets itself back from the anthropocentrism of environmental history as a way to explore climate variations through the perspective of a plant and to give a voice, one day, to other living beings.

Demain, le Climat
Sorbonne Universités


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