Minerals were sometimes regarded
as akind of organism along with animals and plants until the 18th century.
Alchemiststried to transform minerals into gold,
the elixir of life, and even creatures by manipulating the mineral’s “vitality”
In the current project we tried to reacquire
the visions dreamed by ancient alchemists in a contemporary biological laboratory.
The experiments performed on minerals here are almost nonsensical from the viewpoint of current scientific practice.
Nevertheless, the contamination and mistakes would cause the results to provide a faint presentiment of life again through
our active interpretations and imaginations.The mineral “Cinnabar” which we employed consists of Mercury Sulﬁde (HgS)
from which the metal Mercury itself can be produced by heating. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid under standard
conditions at room temperature. Bound to other metals it can be transformed into various compounds,
and even after this the Mercury can be easily puriﬁed again with simple procedures. Such are the outstanding
characteristics of Cinnabar that it fascinated ancient peoples,
and was employed as a raw material in both western and eastern alchemy.
working with Tomoya Ishibashi / Hanna Saito