A collaborative performance with audio by Jake Jeter, recognizing the alchemical process as complete and entire transformation from one thing into another. The work reflects on the very physical task of giving life to the inanimate and discovering through/as material.

We begin from inanimate material and an animate body. Metal shards on the workplace table, worn hands, evidences of processes that are not easily excised.

If we are the only ones able to animate, perhaps, in a measure of good faith, we must also become, somehow, inanimate. We must abjure arbitrary distinctions, become registers for the vibrational, the diminutive, the metamorphic/metaphoric. Sensoriens to become instead sensorium, sensing to instead become sensation, mark, the eyes, the ears, the skin do not just open to the material but become material in themselves through the alchemic, mimetic move. The inanimate not merely altered but embodied. The animate un-closing itself.

In this, the alchemist cannot be separated from the material. 

This is what is meant by alchemic becoming. The alchemist lends their body to matter. 

The universe enraptures us with these secrets through a semiotic language, a language that is a step beyond the immediately comprehensible, that is constructed of material signs.  This language is a language that is also riddle, also paradox, meaning that, though it is a language, so to speak, it is only through the mimetic, alchemic activity that we become initiated into these secrets, her phrasings and abilities of inscription, of dispersal. 

This piece and its material narrative present an alchemist’s journey; an arch that begins, of course, with the hand, with paper, graphite, slate; a process that becomes tongs, fine chains, phosphorus, sulfur, iron.

The iron then striking the flint, creating the flame, the eruption. The roar that follows, that of the great qualitative leap. The weight, it’s conjunction and its expansion, its reframing of the alchemist’s pre-determined methodologies of meaning-making.

We pay homage to the alchemist’s trials, those animating, inanimate-ing acts that take place through the eyes, the ears, the skin, the detonators.  The mind becomes clouded with all of the undiscovered accumulated over the journey. The consciousness is made dark, lends itself to obscurity. The alchemist, reason-less and embodied anew, boils over in the cauldron / casts off hypotheses and guides.

We welcome you to lend us your bodies,

to give life to the inanimate, that which would otherwise remain imperceptible and enveloped by the innominate.

Your hands, the paper, the graphite, the slate, again, the motions that fulminate, subvert, convert, that ignite and kindle the subliminal yet newly discernible worlds while also closing them through observation / articulation from, of, and in material.

This is Ars Alchemica, and we thank you for coming out. Thank you for your devotion to the obscure, to the inscribed, to the incorporated, and to the material.

<3 , Jake Jeter & Lillian G Lippold