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The Greek natural philosophers, the alchemists, believed that the transformation of substances in nature was possible. They believed that nature strives for perfection and that therefore all earthly metals would one day turn into gold. And so they searched for a "philosopher's stone" that would transform simple base metals into precious gold.⁠ Remarkably, after the discovery of radioactivity in 1925, gold was actually produced from base metals for the first time. Such transmutation is possible in particle accelerators or nuclear reactors, but the production costs currently exceed the market price of gold many times over.⁠ Jana Hartmann's work is a photographic research on the scientific exploration and conquest of nature from the beginnings of alchemy to the present day. In her photographic works, she takes up various themes that have aroused the curiosity of researchers throughout history, such as the concept of matter. With the aesthetic verve of her motifs - including references to alchemical symbolism, scientific experiments, natural history exhibits and self-built studio models - she entices curiosity about the scientific context.⁠ The photo book Mastering the Elements juxtaposes her photographic references with the results of her extensive research of alchemical writings, accounts by contemporary scientists and articles on the ethics of science, initiating a fascinating dialogue between different narrative perspectives - the visual artistic, the allegorical alchemical, the philosophical and the scientific.⁠ For the artist, the message we can take from the alchemists is a holistic view of the world in which man and nature, spirit and matter are closely interwoven.   Buy...

About ten years ago, Mathias de Lattre's interest in psychedelics led him to start researching psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic substance produced by about 180 species of mushrooms. He had an intuition that these fungi could provide an alternative to the psychiatric treatment of his mother, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His search took him from prehistoric cave paintings in France to traditional medicinal practices in the Peruvian jungle to psilocybin researchers in London and Zurich. Through text and images, Mother's Therapy brings together science and humanity.⁠   Buy...

We love bread! But times are changing and the staple food has been torn between supermarkets with cheap ready-made baked goods full of additives and beautifully designed new bakeries that make bread an expensive commodity for sometimes, but definitely not for everyday consumption. And then there are the intolerances and the demonisation of carbohydrates. Gone are the days when bread was bought from a baker with tradition and knowledge at a low price and eaten daily. Bread has become a social question. ⁠ ⁠ Brot is dedicated to what is probably the most important food, the bread - at least for Germans.   Buy...

60 years ago, world leaders agreed to leave Antarctica free of war, weapons and nuclear waste. They declared that the uninhabited continent with no indigenous population, twice the size of Australia and 98% ice, should not belong to any country and instead be dedicated to community science. Additional rules to prevent companies from mining minerals and drilling for oil made Antarctica the largest protected area in the world. Now climate change is eroding that success story. ⁠ But higher temperatures aren't the only threat to the pristine natural environment; in recent years, the continent has become a contested territory, concealing resources that could prove irresistible in a world with an ever-growing population.⁠ ⁠ On the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica, Antarctic Resolution offers a high-resolution image of this hyper-surveilled yet neglected continent. In contrast to the fragmented view offered by Big Data companies, the book is a holistic study of the continent’s unique geography, unparalleled scientific potential, contemporary geopolitical significance, experimental governance system, and extreme inhabitation model. A transnational network of multidisciplinary polar experts – represented in the form of authored texts, photographic essays, and data-based visual portfolios – reveals the intricate web of growing economic and strategic interests, tensions, and international rivalries, which are normally enveloped in darkness, as is the continent for six months of the year.   Buy...

Do you know the work of Forensic Architecture? If not, then be prepared to get your mind blown! Connecting real cases of human rights and environmental violations with the tools used in architecture and design, this studio creates a Wolpertinger of art and real evidence which is then used in some of the biggest court cases and tribunals of recent years. ⁠ ⁠ From makeshift satellites constructed with a simple kite, a plastic bottle, some rubber band and a camera, documenting evidence of Bedouin inhabitation in the Negev desert where Bedouin ownership is contested; to reading the "fingerprints" of smoke clouds left behind by missile strikes; to training AI to identify teargas canisters in Hong Kong; to rebuilding whole rooms in 3D to verify the testimony of witnesses - Forensic Architecture is often challenged by voices declaring in an exhibition "This is evidence, not art!" or in a trial "This is art, not evidence!". Truth is, that exhibiting their work in art exhibitions draws international attention to cases that States or big corporations would only too gladly keep unnoticed. It helps victims be heard and get access to a public stage. It also sheds light on injustices, corruption and failures of our political systems. Which is the basis for change. But the fragments of truth are so meticulously and creatively collected, investigated and displayed that they all too often are also the missing proof in a trial. So what is it now? Art or Evidence? One of our all-time-favorite magazines mono.kultur set out to shed light on the manyfold works through an in depth interview with founder Eyal Weizman. And while you should absolutely read this heart stopping issue of mono.kultur we can already say that Forensic Architecture is the answer to the question what happens when art has real-world consequences.⁠   Buy...

Cambio is a small layer between the bark and the wood of a tree, which helps the tree to adapt to shifts within its biotope. But Cambio also means change in Italian. The visionary design practice Formafantasma created a critical exhibition of the same name for Serpentine Galleries, which deals with trees, forestry practices and wood production. Wood is such an old and renewable material that it is not the first we think of when we talk about the exploitation of the planet. We want to see it as a sustainable material without questioning whether our use of it is sustainable. We forget that trees are living beings we should seek a thoughtful coexistence with. The exhibition questions the role that the discipline of design can play in translating emerging environmental awareness into informed, collaborative responses.⁠ ⁠ Unfortunately, the exhibition is closed, as are so many places at the moment. But fortunately we have the accompanying book that will allow you to dive deep into the research and design process of Formafantasma. Essays and interviews by experts in the fields of science, conservation, technology, policy-making and philosophy are designed to give the reader different points of view, while a series of interviews with Formafantasma themselves, over the course of the research period, illustrate the enriching interplay that resulted from these conversations.⁠ ⁠ And if you want to see the whole video, you can find it on the Instagram account of Serpentine Galleries alongside Antenna Fantasma - a weekly series of discussions around ecology and design by Formafantasma.⁠ Buy...

Rolling, shiny and bubbly, the ball has a ubiquitous presence almost wherever you look. It’s frequently the dream object of the architect and the passion of millions of sport games fans around the world. It represents the earth on which we live and bore a mythical quality in the times of the ancient Greeks. “A sphere at all times, is equal only to itself; it is the perfect symbol of equality.” Said architect Boullé in the 18th century. In four main sections, this sixth issue of MacGuffin explores the balls that roll around the world, those that shine in the halls of disco, and those that come disguised as domes, spheres, balloons, orbs and fizzy bubbles. Buy...

On the occasion of ten years since moving its premises to Renens, Switzerland and since the creation of EPFL+ECAL Lab Institution to foster innovation in technology, design and architecture, the University of Art and Design Lausanne releases Making Sense – 10 years of Research in Art and Design. Essentially educational, this bilingual book is a designer-researcher digest that provides condensed, clearly presented information about the projects (in visual arts, cinema, graphic design/typography...