TALES OF AN ESSENCE
CATEGORY: Participatory performance, Sculpture, Research
Exhibited at Designing Interpretation, Museum of the Order of St. John︎︎︎,
Clerkenwell, London, U.K.
“Tales of an Essence” is a live participatory performance and installation that engages visitors of the Museum of the Order of St. John to discover the traditional practices and remedies of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), a flowering plant and medicinal herb used for its antidepressant properties for over 2,000 years. Located within the museum’s historic 11th-century Cloister Garden, the performance features a family of sensory ceramic objects developed for a collective scent, taste, and tactility experience.
“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage”
— Okakura Kokuzo, author of The Book of Tea.
While exploring the need for cognitive interactions in museum institutions, as an effective mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses, the installation aims to prompt discussion about modern antidepressants and the role of herbal medicine today.
The workshop offers three collective experiences to explore the sensory qualities of the medicinal plant: a herbal tea tasting of St. John’s Wort infusion, an olfactory experience catered by an oil burner of St. John’s Wort essential oil, and a tactile experience.