Lucien Anderson and David Lisser – Last Ditch Attempt


Lucien Anderson and David Lisser
Last Ditch Attempt

Saturday 14 April – Saturday 26 May 2018

Part spectacle, part speculative solution, Last Ditch Attempt is a mobile seed library and starting point for a seed-sharing network. A collaboration between artists Lucien Anderson and David Lisser, it asks us to consider a different model for future-resilience in the face of a concerning climatic outlook.

The catalyst for this project was the recent flooding of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Located off the coast of Norway, “The Vault is the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply,… It will secure, for centuries, millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today. It is the final back up.

Last year warming surface temperatures caused the permafrost to melt and water cascaded in.

Thankfully no seeds were damaged, but the vault was designed to run without human intervention, and now constantly monitored pumps are being installed. This monumental, permanent stronghold clearly won’t hold forever – we need a new strategy. Last Ditch Attempt proposes one such approach, based not on centralised control and silo-mentality, but on open, generous and egalitarian networks.

On a self-built cargo trike, the artists will cycle to various venues across the region and set up the library as a forum for learning and sharing. At these events Lucien and David will distribute a number of starter seed capsules, give advice about seed preservation and hopefully encourage the planting of a new seed-sharing network for the North East.



Last Ditch Attempt in Gateshead and Newcastle / Saturday 14 April, 12-5pm

Lucien and David will be bringing Last Ditch Attempt to Gateshead Town Centre. They will then cycle over the Tyne Bridge to Northumberland Street, Newcastle, where they will be talking to people and giving out starter seed capsules.

Last Ditch Attempt at LOT in Ouseburn / Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 April, 10.30am – 2.30pm

Lucien and David will be cycling Last Ditch Attempt over to LOT, a new multifaceted art space in the Ouseburn Valley, where they will be planting seeds and establishing a long-term test bed for seed harvesting and storage methods.



Lucien Anderson is an artist based in the North East. But really he wants to be a mechanic, not just one that services your car, but one that wastes time and ritualistically tinkers. Previous projects have led to escape vehicles, survival structures and scientific installations with a fragile authenticity.  Using a combination of basic materials and quotidian objects he develops deployable structures, examining fundamental needs and notions of everydayness and mobility. With an oak tree on their crest and the motto “stand sure”, Anderson continues the nomadic tradition of his clan, recognised for their ability to move on at the first sign of trouble. As resident emerging artist at Allenheads Contemporary Arts he investigated the phenomenon of space analogues. He was shortlisted for the Gillian Dickinson Young Sculptor Award and recently developed work for a 24 hour site-specific public art event within the Galloway Dark Skies Park.

David Lisser thinks a lot about the future. Probably too much. Through his practice, he prods at our relationships with technology, our hopes and fears for tomorrow and the role that food plays in society.  His work can be considered as archaeological in approach, but rather than recovering and unearthing materials, he creates sculptural artefacts and narratives to reveal different understandings of culture. Previous projects have included collaborative woodcarving with industrial robots, fictional nomadic tribes that subsist on midges and walls made of bread. In 2017 he presented The CleanMeat Revolution, an imagined museum-style retrospective of the 21st century lab-grown meat industry.


This commission is part of Deep Adaptation. An ongoing programme of commissions, talks, events and workshops looking at how current social, civic and economic issues can be understood in relation to climate change.

The Newbridge Project