This talk discusses the relation of life to its suspension in various forms (whether in seed vaults, dormant viruses in the arctic, or human colonists in science fiction). In particular one finds a curious tension between the melting of ice in the arctic and the possibility of suspending life through automated cold storage (the conditions for the possibility and impossibility of life appear to coincide).
The difficult maintenance of the global seed vault in Svalbard Norway is a striking example of keeping forms of life suspended for an uncertain future. In its romantic manifestation the arctic serves as the death of the golden age of exploration (The Terror) and the last refuge of Frankenstein's monster, while in several science fiction texts it is the bearer of ancient and monstrous life alien and terrestrial (At the Mountains of Madness, The Thing, The Thaw etc). Furthermore, such sites, as cross contaminated by romanticism, science fiction, and ecological fears, tether the suspension of life to a jumbled chronology both fictional and historical where the long dead and lost emerge before the only just forgotten.