早在5年前,科学家声称地球上的生物的灭绝速度超过了以往任何时候,随着人口的急速增长、全球气温变暖和自然环境的恶化,使地球上的生物正在经历有史以来的第六次大灭绝。这绝非是故意夸大,而是我们所生活的星球向人类发出的求救信号。

当在人类在有意或无意识的导演着这出悲剧的时候,来自纽约的女摄影师Rachel Sussman上山下海,踏遍世界的各个角落,用相机与那些仍存在于地球上超过2000年的古老生物对话,由此促成了她的跨学科项目——世界上最老的生物(The Oldest Living Things in the World)。

她在纳米比亚的沙漠中找到活了2000多年的千岁兰,这里独特的海雾和沙漠环境是使其寿达“千岁”的重要条件;由许多株植物组成的环状植物带叫做凤尾兰,Sussman估计图片上的这株标本已有12000多岁的高龄;好似绿色雕塑一般铺展开来的植物名为紧密小鹰芹,无数的花蕾排列紧密到可以承受一个成年人的重量,它们已经有3000年的历史了;而一棵依赖于石灰岩生长的科恩松,因其只消耗极少的能量用于生长,而得以从4600多年前留存至今······

在最近的几年间,她从日本出发,足迹遍及智利、格陵兰岛、美国等20多个国家和地区,记录下了包括真菌、各种植物在内的30多种生物的模样。她与不同类别科学家一道,通过探寻各种稀奇古怪的长寿生物,来提醒世人自然的极致美好,并呼吁人们关注地球生物的生存问题。

Artist’s statement:

My name is Rachel Sussman, and I am working on a project called “The Oldest Living Things in the World.” I’m researching, working with biologists, and traveling all over the world to find and photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. I started the project 5 years ago, and have since photographed nearly 25 different organisms, ranging from the Bristlecone Pine and Giant Sequoias that you’ve surely heard of, to some truly unusual and unique desert shrubs, bacteria, a predatory fungus, and a clonal colony of Aspen trees that’s male and, in theory, immortal.

On a conceptual level, I’m developing this unique index of living organisms with exceptional longevity at a critical juncture in our collective trajectory: how will the natural world fare in the face of climate change? Part art, part science, part philosophy, I hope to tease out themes of longevity, sustainability, the natural sublime and mortality through the work.