The Generic Stone, 2009

Synthetic granite. Lecture.

Collaboration with Sidsel Meineche Hansen

The Generic Stone is a piece of granite, one of the most common types of rock to be found. The mineral piece was produced in a laboratory at the University of Oslo and is a composition of pure chemicals. It is consequently synthetic, yet its chemical composition and structure is identical to that of granite, and in that sense also natural.

In addition to the small synthetic stone, the project consists of a lecture that elaborates on questions related to the object’s status, value, materiality and production process.

Excerpt from the lecture: «In physics there is no such thing as synergy, or increased power through interactions. In comparison, one can say that the process of creating the stone in principle is, scientifically speaking, without synergy: A certain set of known factors, pure chemicals, are put together in one machine to form a prescribed result: synthetic granite. What is put in is equal to what comes out, producing no new scientific insights. However, unlike physics, the synthetic stone’s transition from one knowledge system to another – from science to design and to art – enables a position where we can talk about knowledge-related synergies, namely that it generates a discourse. In our lecture we will analyze the process and the production of the stone to examine the value and knowledge production in which the project will result.»

Thanks to Rune Selbekk, curator of mineralogy at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, who produced the granite and generously shared his knowledge and expertise on experimental mineralogy.