[ by Charles Cameron — the material world meets the immaterial in our humanity — cognition & language ]
I came across two views of what you might call “alchemical substances” today — one mixed and one unmixed — and in each case the wording of the description fascinated me.
The upper panel is taken from the late Oliver Sacks‘ description of the elements as he found them in his childhood, displayed in London’s Science Museum. There’s alchemy in that description, in the fusion Sacks achieves between scientific observation and poetic insight.
In the lower panel, we have an overtly alchemical fusion, this time achieved by the interweaving of words from the language of the material (tobacco, leather, oak) and the immaterial (mystery, wisdom, knowledge) — both under the rubric “materials” — the work of Marcus McCoy.
Oliver Sacks, Mendeleev’s Garden House of Orpheus, Cunning Man sample vial
Any self-respecting legal desk will contain both pigeon-holes and loop-holes.