“That which is below is like that which is above And that which is above is like that which is below To do the miracles of one only thing.”
— The emerald tablet, Isaac Newton
In Miracle Mountain, Collective Disaster combines knowledge from alchemy, geobiology, composting and healing practices. Visitors and neighbors can enjoy a calm but social space while dipping their feet in hot water with healing qualities. Science has proven that water has memory and carries information in its structure. The human brain is up to 78% water. Well-structured water can make people feel positive, just as experiments have proven the opposite: that people can influence the structure of water by the way they feel.
The installation is composed of two volumes, a positive and a negative, a male and a female, a yin and a yan. The positive one is a giant compost pile. The negative is a water reservoir set into the tissue of the earth. Cooled water from the reservoir flows through a coiled tube inside the heap and, due to heat released by the composting process, hot water flows back into the reservoir as if it were a natural hot spring. Fermentation is one of the alchemical processes. Miracle Mountain is an alchemical device, whose layout takes the shape of the symbol ‘the philosopher’s stone’. It seeks a balance,a ‘divine marriage’ between opposites; here, hot and cold water. The water gains an improved structure, thanks to harmonious alternation and by passing through a spiral-shaped tube inside the compost heap.
The reservoir is constructed of copper, a choice based on geobiology, the study of the influence of earth energies on all forms of life. The earth is threaded with energy lines or meridians of electromagnetic energy that have a powerful effect on living things. People are electromagnetic creatures with every cell in the living system being an electrical battery. Since copper is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, it is believed to also have the ability to conduct spiritual energy between individuals, the mind and the spirit world. Copper is also considered to have the power to amplify thoughts. The basin is made of steel, said to have a healing effect on nightmares and rheumatisms. We believe that the synergy of copper, steel and naturally-heated, well-structured water creates an electromagnetic field that will transfer an amplified positive energy to the bathers and to all other life forms around.
The idea of using compost to heat water dates back to an invention by Jean Pain, a French innovator who lived in southern France from 1930 until his passing in 1981. He managed to create a compost-based energy production system capable of meeting 100% of his energy needs, such that he could live in an entirely self-sufficient way. In the context of contemporary ecological crises and climate change, making use of such systems is a small and simple step towards the more fundamental changes urgently required. The transformation of substances and values commonly perceived as negative or waste is a necessary process in an era of disinformation, fear and enclosure.
- The famous psychologist Carl Jung was very interested in the study of alchemical texts. Based on that he wrote the book Symbols of Transformation, where one of the themes is the Hieros Gamos, or Divine Marriage, meaning that a human being can come into wholeness when the opposites are brought into contact; thus inner and outer, spirit and matter are reunited. In the 16th century’s Rosary of the Philosophers, the fermentation stage of alchemy is the divine marriage.
The project was selected to be part of the yearly festival in Amiens (Fr), “Art, villes & paysage Hortillonnages Amiens 2016” at Les Hortillonnages, organised by the “Maison de la culture d’Amiens”. Many thanks to to Guillaume Montis, Nathalie Vallee, Aline and Vincent of Maison de la Culture of Amiens, Sébastien Tripod, Muriel Claeys, Jorg De Vriese, Serena Taglia la Tela, the Vermoere family and Bart Grandry.