The elaboratory and the elixir of life: an alchemical wonderment.

This is a installation project in development, a work that explores both the materia medica of the sites garden and a poetic examination of the exoteric and esoteric aspects of Alchemy. 

Summary of Alchemy

Alchemy was introduced into Europe at the time of the Crusades. The first alchemical texts were translated from Arabic into Latin. 
Alchemy was a mysterious and terrifying art to those unfamiliar with it. Alchemists used odd-shaped instruments and magical incantations, codified symbols and symbolic colours. Science was considered a challenge to the authority of the Church, as were many things not understood by everyone. Aristotle's books were banned. 

Crave wisdom of God, the sense to understand,
Else meddle not herewith, nor take it in hand.
For it will cost thee much worldly wealth;
But trust not to other, but do it thyself.
Learn, therefore, first to cleanse, purify and sublime,
To dissolve, congeal, distill and sometime
To conjoin and separate, and how to do all,
That when you think to rise, thou do not fall,
Trust to thyself and not to another;
I can say no more to thee if thou were my brother.

- Simon Forman, 1597

Tutes Cottage

Tutes Cottage and Garden is a rare artefact of the Victorian gold rush. Established c.1854, the property is an important reminder of the Victorian Government's strategy after the Eureka Rebellion to provide land to its new settlers through the granting miner's residential areas.
From 1855, a Miner's Right entitled the holder of a mining claim to also occupy a parcel of land as a Residence Area, for the purpose of a house and garden. The land on which Tute's Cottage stands was continuously held under a Miner's Right until 1996: only then did it revert to Crown possession. It appears that, because the cottage's various occupants could never aspire to own the land, they were little inclined to make 'improvements' to the structure. As a result, its original architectural style has survived with remarkable clarity and integrity.

The work

An installation that explores transmutation with a laboratory of mystery and wonderment.

This series of works builds on research in France 2011 and personal themes relating to the body. The alchemist's work was based on Aristotle's theory of earth, air, fire, and water : These four elements were related to the four humors: phlegm, blood, bile, and black bile. In a healthy human, the humors were balanced; illness resulted from imbalance of the humours. Alchemy was not entirely just a search for the stone that would turn lead into gold. Many alchemists used that search as a metaphor for the search for moral perfection, believing that what could be accomplished in nature could be accomplished in the heart and mind. 

This new work will be presented at the Castlemaine State Festival, within the theme of the festival 'Elemental'. Utilising a unique and historic venue within the goldfields, the concept of transmutation within Alchemy will be explored as a sensorial and evocative experience. Drawing parallels with the search for the elixir of life the work aims to draw the audience into a sensorial exploration. The audience will be lead through a few rooms which will be set up in various states. There will be glasses filled with aromatic liquid, reflections projected through various lighting techniques, as well as rooms with an abundance (which appears overgrown) of dried herbs, lit and silohetted within.

This work continues a relationship to previous works Deluge and Cold Light exploring various transformations of material that eluded to watery under world states, with mysterious forces at hand.