The Monument to Witches on the Arctic Circle
People’s fear of the unknown can be the worst ally of the law; but light has many ways of multiplying.
One of the darkest aspects of the history of law is the trial by ordeal, used by both ancient societies in contexts of initiation and Western legislation to deal with the unknown: as in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, where one of the bloodiest hunts of alleged witches took place, in the remote province of Vardø, Norway, a similar story was recorded.
Vardø is closer to Russia than Sweden, but in the county of Finmark alone, 135 people were accused of practicing witchcraft during the17th century, and 91 of which were found guilty an executed.
Those accused of witchcraft faced the water trial: they hands and feet were tied and they were thrown into the river, lake or a body of water. If the person floated they were declared guilty, given that water – a sign of baptism – rejected them. But if they drowned it was considered ‘God’s will’ and the victim’s death proved their innocence.
In 2011, the Queen of Norway unveiled a monument to commemorate the victims of those trials. The monument’s designers were artists Peter Zumthor of Switzerland, and French-American Louise Bourgeois. Known as the Steilneset Memorial, it was built on the site believed to be where the ordeal may have taken place.
It is a long beachfront corridor of 91 lamps, each of which illuminates a window and a commemorative plaque with the history of the Vardø verdicts; the other part of the installation is a black glass box with a chair and a lamp that burns permanently, surrounded by mirrors.
The memorial reminds us that elements as simple as water and fire can be instruments of human cruelty if they are used for judicial criminal codes, but they can also be tools for memory, dignity and even beauty.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now