The boundaries of what classifies as jewellery and the purpose it serves has long interested been the focus of my designs. What are the qualities that lend the stone/material value? Does it only pertain to the aesthetic, or does it depend on the rareness of the material? These are not answerable questions, but they are ones worth exploring and experimenting with. My performance attempts to approach this subject by playing with a material that is not known for jewellery purposes, but for its frangrance and taste. I play with Frankincense, a material that can take on the appearance of gold, and allow it to not only ornament my body, but to take the form of it. My performance compels and confuses the spectator. I want the spectator to assume, even believe, that they know what is happening in the video. Once the frankincense will take over my arm, I will smash it, so that it no longer looks like gold, but like a brittle, damaged object. But even in that damaged state, the frankincense will take on a new life, and a new meaning, when I burn it to produce the scent that we all so easily recognize.
How would this piece change, if it were made of gold? Would the value or the perception of the work change, lose its potential as art, or even become banal? The value of the work is inherent in it itself, but the spectators bring those potentials to life and allow for creativity and imagination to give these works meaning. Gold and silver, the two most used materials for “valuable jewellery”, is made valuable by the people who regard it as such. In my mind, the value of frankincense as a jewellery material that can ornament and beautify is severely undermined, and I aim to instill the question in the spectators’ minds: what are the boundaries of what is jewellery?
(Exhibited at Made in Tashkeel)
Gold plated (22 kt) silver pieces in frankincense mold. Made through a process of molding and casting.