THE Obsidian Project



In The Obsidian Project Studio Drift examines both artistically as well as poetically, our own ethical responsibility in dealing with chemical waste: a poignant increasing threat in today’s vulnerable world. 

The basis of The Obsidian Project can be found in twelfth-century philosophy. In this period, Europe began to expand its knowledge of alchemy in a quest for the Philosopher’s Stone. Using ancient alchemical methods, Drift is working with a 21st century chemist who discovered a process of abstracting gold and other precious raw materials from chemical waste. The Obsidian Project provides a solution for processing initially considered intractable chemical residual material. The material that is obtained by this particular process of heating is synthetic obsidian: a 100% clean tested material with very specific properties. The material feels cold, but shows a high capacity of absorption of light and heat. Moreover, it turns out that obsidian is highly paramagnetic. With the discovery of this technique, we seem to have found a solution to the major contemporary chemical problem. 

In The Obsidian Project, Drift is specifically investigating the typical light absorption of obsidian. Its light absorption transforms the reflected environment into a spectacle that relaxes the eyes. In the 17th century, artists turned to this semi-precious stone when focusing at length on the still lives they were painting. Now, 4 centuries later, Studio Drift is again exploring these specific qualities of synthetic obsidian in a series of mirrors. Each mirror will focus on one unique material or symbolic property. The mirror itself symbolizes the meeting between technology, artistic thinking and the responsibilities we have in the world as human beings. When we look at the polished jet-black surface of the mirror, we see our own face reflected in the obsidian. Our effigy is formed in an art object created from our own chemical waste.