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

soundscape: Dave Lawrence

vimeo trailer:  

vimeo preview:


“Philosophers’ Stone” is related to the studies of the iGEM Heidelberg Team, EilsLabs/DKFZ/University of Heidelberg (Grand Prix in iGEM 2013 competiton!)

The first version was presented to the public in the exhibition "Not Invented by Nature"  in the BioQuant Center  within the framework of the international symposium “Synthetic Biology – from understanding to application”  at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg on December 2013.


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 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.


Indeed, the philosophers’ stone (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is mostly associated with the legendary alchemic substance used for the transmutation of base metals into precious stones: gold or silver.  However, for alchemists, the human greed was not the ground for their research.  The Greek alchemist, Zosimos qualified the philosophers’ stone as xerion (Arabic. El Iksir, Latin. Elixir). Apart of transmutation, it was supposed to heal all forms of diseases, prolong life, secure agelessness and even immortality. 

In many interpretations, the philosophers’ stone was not a real substance but a metaphor for enlightenment (full comprehension) and knowledge.  It is worth to emphasize that lapis philosophorum was not considered as a possession or achievement of a singular scholar but a shared property of those who “love wisdom”.  

From its beginning, the search for  the philosophers' stone proceeded on two levels: 

              exoteric - extraverted (technical/operational) and 

              esoteric - introverted (contemplative/psychological).   

This duality was based on the conviction that  meditation and self-reflection requires practice in the real world, and vice versa.

Carl Jung used the stages of Opus Magnum as symbolic for the process of  individuation and personal growth.  

My artistic project "PHILOSOPHERS' STONE” juxtaposes contemporary scientific practices against alchemic phases of Opus Magnum underlining that the philosophers’ stone, above all, has been a metaphor for a deeper and unified knowledge (leading to wisdom), inner transformation, and higher ethical values

The 3D stereoscopic narrative is accompanied by a hologram-like animation. Multidimensional illusionary space calls to life structures and narratives reflecting and questioning the deepest human emotions and desires.


for the anaglyph gallery click here



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.  











PHILOSOPHERS' STONE as a metaphor for enlightenment (full comprehension of nature) and elixir of life, was inherently related and often interchangeable with