Hydrargyrum Hg80
Project info

Hydrargyrum is the Latin name for the chemical element Mercury, with symbol Hg and the atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver, is highly toxic and seen as the opposite of Sulfur.

Mercury is the only metallic element that is liquid at standard conditions. It is silvery looking, heavy, mysterious and enchanting.

Alchemists thought of mercury as the “First Matter” from which all other metals were formed. They considered mercury as the spirit of any given material and Paracelsus explained it, saying:

“For Mercury is the spirit, sulfur is the soul, and salt is the body.” [1]

Manfred Junius in his book “Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs” wrote:

“Mercury…..Represents the feminine and passive principle. Sulfur is the…masculine or active principle.” [2]

Ancient symbology considered water embodying the moon, the feminine and the mercurial nature; alchemical mercury often being called Luna, or the feminine.

It is a captivating and intriguing liquid metal, moving sinuously.

My interest in the movement of the human body through dance and performance has stirred my curiosity in mercury and female performance.

My work shows a female performer, embodying Luna, expressing mesmerising movements through time. The passing of time is ever puzzling, like dancing liquid metal.

The work wants to capture this movement in the moment in time, and through time, in images.
There are still images and an interactive video piece, using coding: a modern metaphor for the alchemy of our times.

Like Bill Viola, I like to define my work as “sculpting time”, where time is the basic material of a video work, as the artist creates events or experiences that unfold in time, reminding us of the life-cycle: birth, life, death, transcendence, rebirth, time and space.

In this work, the light unveils obscure but intense movement - as in trance - in a flow, like liquid metal.

Jean Mun-Delsalle noted on Bill Viola’s work: “People tend to intellectualize artworks and over-analyze, but most of Viola’s work is based on intuition, not intellect.”

I used intuition as starting point for Hydrargyrum Hg 80. There’s undeniable power in the video that evokes an intensity of emotions. We are inexplicably drawn into it and it brings us to a personal place that is normally hidden or secret.

The work “Hydrargyrum Hg 80” endeavours to bring these sensorial and visual elements in proximity.

Cide da Aragon, July 2018




Work by: Cida de Aragon

Performance: Andrea Maciel - Performer and Teacher of Movement
Soundscape: Danilo Borgerth

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/277819737