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"PHILOSOPHERS' STONE" , 3D stereoscopic video-instalation    

soundscape: Dave Lawrence


vimeo 3D preview:

vimeo 2D preview:

vimeo trailer:  






Philosophers’ Stone is an artistic project  related to the scientific  research  of the iGEM Heidelberg Team, EilsLabs/DKFZ/University of Heidelberg (Grand Prix in iGEM 2013 competiton!)


What is the philosophers’’ stone in the age of molecular and synthetic biology?

  For centuries alchemists searched for the  philosophers’ stone, a secret substance not only capable of changing common metals into silver or gold, but also ensuring agelessness, health and even immortality. Today, scientists focus on creating new molecular tools to meet the needs and ambitions of our society. 

The special role is played by ‘biobricks’- designed standard biological modules based on short DNA sequences, used for designing and creating bigger biological circuits with defined functions. The research is crucial for nanotechnology and medicine, and in the future, for creating new synthetic forms of life which genome will be based on standardised parts.
The scientific project was inspired by the bacterium Delftia acidovorans, discovered in Australia and known for generating a non-ribosomal peptide called Delftibactin used to detoxify soluble gold and to create golden nanoparticles. By experimenting with E-coli bacteria, scientists aim to verify the potentiality of non-ribosomal peptides synthesis not only in recycling gold from electronic waste but also in pharmaceutical and basic research.

The philosophers' stone may well be perceived as a quintessence of human greed and hubris, but also as an embodiment of eve-lasting human passion to comprehend and govern natural processes. The Intersection of cultural and scientific imageries/imaginaries as well as rich cultural roots of contemporary scientific practices became the inspiration for my artistic work.

The artistic video-animation recalls the alchemic phases of Magnum Opus and the rich tradition of human quest for the human pursuit of knowledge (leading to wisdom) and power over natural processes, questioning at the same time innermost human desires and fears.


The 3D stereoscopic narrative is accompanied by a hologram-like animation. 




3 d stereoscopic narrative: stills (one channel)


NIGREDO or blackness. 

For alchemists,the first step towards lapis philosophorum was Nigredo – blackness. In this phase all ingredients where subjected to putrefaction or decomposition becoming massa confusa. a uniform black essence or chaos.

In analitical psychology Nigredo was interpreted as the state of non-differentiation between self and object, consciousness and the unconscious. It was followed by a growing awareness of the subject’s shadow aspects combined with a painful confrontation, self-criticism, disillusion and powerlessness.  

in my film: Nigredo is the process in which computer waste, people and bacteria merge into a unified digital matter.  




ALBEDO whiteness, process of purification

in film: process in which particles of  massa confusa start to form an atomic structure of Delftibactine, slowly creating a complicated virtual structure 



CITRINITAS  yellowness;  the transmutation of silver into gold,  the solar dawn and awakening,

in film: the cloudy model of Delftibactin is transformed into a precious and desired gold, a symbol of the highest value, immortality and beauty.  





RUBEDO redness, the final stage of magnum opus, standing for the achievement of “wholeness” and the deepest knowledge of nature.

In film the piece of gold, made of  data, scientists’ notes and records, slowly gets diffused into particles - dispersed carriers or seeds of information,  





the process of achieving Philosophers’ Stone concluded in MULTIPLICATION and PROJECTION (into the world)aiming to increase the potency of  lapis philosophorum.

In film dispersed  particles start to form copies of the peptide, stems of philosophers’ stone.  




They are developing in virtual Petri dishes, which towards the end, form a symbol of the tree of life

The tree of life, identified often as a tree of knowledge and an elixir of life, brings together in its diagram values represented by the 

philosophers' stone and a way of development from the roots-foundations through beauty, understanding and knowledge to the crown of wisdom. 


The lack of fulfilment of the Grand Work, the impossibility of reaching out to the fullness of knowledge and the illusion of cognition contain the truth

about the human predicament and limitations. Yet part of this truth is inherent in the incessant attempts to overcome limitations and to launch new thinking structures.

Today, at a time of enormous advances of science, information flow and interpersonal communication on a scale unprecedented in human history,

we harbour hopes of going beyond the chaos of individual pursuits and contexts towards more holistic qualities in human consciousness and activity.

However these hopes are overshadowed by fears of misuse of the power provided by knowledge, lack of control over complex systems or

assignment of moral responsibilities to machines.

The question how we will manage our knowledge, how we will care for the 'tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge”, associated with Philosophers’ Stone, remains open.