Missing Link: Basel 2010
Why are precious stones precious?
Aldous Huxley, The Human Situation, Natural History of Visions
'We see then that there are in nature certain scenes, certain classes of objects, certain materials, possessed of the power to transport the beholder's mind in the direction of its antipodes, out of the everyday Here and towards the Other World of Vision. Similarly, in the realm of art, we find certain works, even certain classes of works, in which the same transporting power is manifest. These vision–inducing works may be executed in vision–inducing materials, such as glass, metal, gems or gem–like pigments. In other cases their power is due to the fact that they render, in some peculiarly expressive way, some transporting scene or object.'
Aldous Huxley, Heaven and Hell
The idea for this project came from reading Aldous Huxley's Heaven and Hell and The Human Situation. That people can be transported by the sight of shimmering objects and go to extraordinary lengths to extract diamonds and precious metals from the earth have nothing to do with beauty or usefulness. It is more to do with how their reflective properties draw us into 'a world of visions', 'the most remote of all our inner worlds', which lies deeper than the 'world of memory, fantasy and imagination' or even that of the Jungian collective unconscious.
Reading Huxley struck a deep chord inside me and I started wondering where this instinctive response to light and reflectivity came from. Is it something to do with primordial experiences we share with other animals, or is it more an aspect of perception as moderated through the human brain? By creating a courtyard garden full of shimmering elements, I want people to experience and reflect on what Huxley has so compellingly drawn our attention to. I want it to act as a Missing Link that takes us beyond the mundane and makes us able to experience 'consciously something of that which, unconsciously, is always with us'.