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“Revital HgS” [2013]


“Revital HgS”


The mineral was sometimes regarded as a kind of organisms as well as animals and plants until the 18th century. Alchemists tried to transform minerals into gold, the elixir of life and even creatures by manipulating their “vitality.” When modern biology and chemistry became influential, minerals lost their life. However, to be sure, they were tinged with a nuance of life once.
In the current project we tried to reacquire view scenes dreamed by ancient alchemists in a contemporary biological laboratory. The experiments performed on minerals here are almost nonsense from the viewpoint of current sciences. Nevertheless, the results caused by contamination and mistakes would provide a faint presentiment of life again through our active interpretations and imaginations. A mineral “Cinnabar” which we employed here consists of mercury sulfide (HgS), from which mercury metal can be produced by heating. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid under standard conditions at room temperature, bound to other metals to be transformed into various compounds, and even after this the mercury can be easily purified again with simple procedure. Such outstanding characteristics of cinnabar have fascinated ancient people, to be used as a raw material of western and eastern alchemy. (ISHIBASHI Tomoya + YOSHIOKA Yuki)



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