Alchemy Works
 
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Installation

2000

Description

Alchemy Works is a seamless piece of integrated art including terrazzo flooring in 11 colors, the Alchemist’s Window, and exterior architectural details. The design reminds visitors of metallurgy’s roots in alchemy, the early science which aimed to transform more common metals into gold. The colors are separated by brass and zinc strips along with brass symbols scattered throughout the floor. The terrazzo floor unites the present and past with abstract imagery of microcrystalline structures as viewed through an optical microscope. The artists intended for the Alchemist’s Window to illuminate the building much like alchemists illuminated scientific ideas. The window is an abstraction of a diagram from medieval alchemy that begins as a diagram of opposites. The Medieval Latin in the first layer translates to “earth,” “air,” “fire,” and “water.” The next layer is interpreted as “body,” “soul,” and “spirit.” The combination of these quintessential elements forms “YAH,” the matter believed to be the life-force contained in gold. The artists were also involved in designing other elements of the building, including exterior details around windows, doors, and cornerstones.