Western Alchemy is a hermetic tradition that began with the Ancient Egyptians and their art of textile dyeing. In order for the textiles to hold dye, to not fade, to achieve certain color and texture etc., the Egyptians had to combine ingredients in a very specific order according to a very specific process. Later this order was applied to a psycho-theological philosophy concerning transmutation of the soul- the process for which was referred to as the Magnum Opus or Philosopher’s Stone.
The Reddening illustrates four stages of the Magnum Opus that are referred to as Nigredo (Blackening), Albedo (Whitening), Citrinitas (Yellowing) and Rubedo (Reddening). Blackening is largely concerned with decomposition and putrefaction of the spirit, Whitening with self- discovery and spiritual growth, Yellowing with a more extroverted spiritual growth, and Reddening with enlightenment as the result of an infusion between spirit and matter.
Each chapter in The Reddening is prefaced by a sigil composed in Baskerville typography. Throughout history sigils were used to seal mystical documents and served as a protective symbol to ward off unwelcome souls. The text of the book is in Baskerville with the exception of the tables and graphs that were lifted from scientific articles.
The poetry in the Whitening section is the culmination of a process involving the text of an academic article overlain with the photograph of a textile. The photograph served as a pattern to draw phrases out of the text and these phrases were then arranged into poems. The photocopies of warped text in the back of the book are from this academic article.
The Reddening was made using letterpress printing (with the exception of the tables and graphs). It is hand perfect-bound, printed, cut, written, and conceived by the artist Larissa Hammond. They do not print their name on any of their books, but the fictional barcode is consistent throughout all of their works and rests atop the phrase THIS GOD IS A HOME PLANET. They sign every copy. 2013