From John Ruskin's, The Ethics of the Dust:

Old Lecturer. However, the best--out and out the best--way of understanding the thing, is to crystallize yourselves.

THE AUDIENCE. Ourselves!

L. Yes; not merely as you did the other day, carelessly on the schoolroom forms; but carefully and finely, out in the playground. You can play at crystallization there as much as you please.

KATHLEEN and JESSIE. Oh! how?--how?

L. First, you must put yourselves together, as close as you can, in the middle of the grass, and form, for first practice, any figure you like.

JESSIE. Any dancing figure, do you mean?

L. No; I mean a square, or a cross, or a diamond. Any figure you like, standing close together. You had better outline it first on the turf, with sticks, or pebbles, so as to see that it is rightly drawn; then get into it and enlarge or diminish it at one side, till you are all quite in it, and no empty space left.

DORA. Crinoline and all?

L. The crinoline may stand eventually for rough crystalline surface, unless you pin it in; and then you may make a polished crystal of yourselves.

LILY. Oh, we'll pin it in--we'll pin it in!

L. Then, when you are all in the figure, let every one note her place, and who is next her on each side; and let the outsiders count how many places they stand from the corners.

KATHLEEN. Yes, yes,--and then?

L. Then you must scatter all over the playground--right over it from side to side, and end to end; and put yourselves all at equal distances from each other, everywhere. You needn't mind doing it very accurately, but so as to be nearly equidistant; not less than about three yards apart from each other, on every side.

JESSIE. We can easily cut pieces of string of equal length, to hold. And then?

L. Then, at a given signal, let everybody walk, at the same rate, towards the outlined figure in the middle. You had better sing as you walk; that will keep you in good time. And as you close in towards it, let each take her place, and the next comers fit themselves in beside the first ones, till you are all in the figure again.

KATHLEEN. Oh! how we shall run against each other. What fun it will be!

L. No, no, Miss Katie; I can't allow any running against each other. The atoms never do that, whatever human creatures do. You must all know your places, and find your way to them without jostling.

LILY. But how ever shall we do that?

ISABEL. Mustn't the ones in the middle be the nearest, and the outside ones farther off--when we go away to scatter, I mean?

L. Yes; you must be very careful to keep your order; you will soon find out how to do it; it is only like soldiers forming square, except that each must stand still in her place as she reaches it, and the others come round her; and you will have much more complicated figures, afterwards, to form, than squares.

ISABEL. I'll put a stone at my place: then I shall know it.

L. You might each nail a bit of paper to the turf, at your place, with your name upon it: but it would be of no use, for if you don't know your places, you will make a fine piece of business of it, while you are looking for your names. And, Isabel, if with a little head, and eyes, and a brain (all of them very good and serviceable of their kind, as such things go), you think you cannot know your place without a stone at it, after examining it well,--how do you think each atom knows its place, when it never was there before, and there's no stone at it?

ISABEL. But does every atom know its place?

L. How else could it get there?

MARY. Are they not attracted into their places?

L. Cover a piece of paper with spots, at equal intervals; and then imagine any kind of attraction you choose, or any law of attraction, to exist between the spots, and try how, on that permitted supposition, you can attract them into the figure of a Maltese cross, in the middle of the paper.

MARY (having tried it). Yes; I see that I cannot:--one would need all kinds of attractions, in different ways, at different places. But you do not mean that the atoms are alive?

L. What is it to be alive?

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Inanimate Growth (2020), aragonite, dolomite, dome vitrine. now crumbled to dust.
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Crystal Life (2020) installation view
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Crystal Life (2020) installation view
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Crystal Damask (2020), wallpaper, dimensions variable
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Violet (Fluorite)(2018) & Jessie (Gypsum, var. Selenite)(2018), Pigment Prints on Crystal Damask (2020).
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Crystal Life (2020) installation view
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video still from Geology of Nocturne in Black & Gold(2020), video HERE
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Crystal Life (2020) installation view
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Fluorite (2019), polylactic acid (PLA) on oak pedestal
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Smoky Quartz (2019) & Quartz (d) (2018), polylactic acid (PLA) on oak pedestal
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Pyrite (2018), polylactic acid (PLA) on oak pedestal
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Crystal Life (2020) installation view
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Schoolgrounds for Crystal Choreography (2020), wood platform, synthetic grass, digital projection, selenite wands, LEDs, wooden spool, and natural and synthetic braided cord
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Copy of John Ruskin’s “Study of a Piece of Rolled Gneiss” (2017), Galena on Unglazed Porcelain Tablet with Galena Drawing Implement
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Gallery visitors following Ruskin's instructions for embodying crystals.
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Inanimate Growth II (2020), aragonite, dolomite, dome vitrine