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In 1976 I discovered several handmade marbles outside my kitchen door. Probably left there by children a generation before, they were still just as bright and colorful as they were on the summer afternoon they were lost. The discovery made me think about the longevity of glass*. There are so many priceless glass objects in museums around the world that spent eons buried in the ground before an archaeologist happened upon them.
In 1976 no museum had acquired my work. I thought - Why not hedge my bet? I began to hide planets - first near my house, and then later I brought them with me to leave behind whenever I traveled. Once I learned to fly, I was able to drop planets in truly remote locations from a tiny window on the pilot's side of the plane. I've left planets in mundane places, and now thanks to the Infinity Project, since 2000, over 1,700 participants have hidden planets in locations around the globe. Some are meant to be discovered quickly, perhaps by someone who will wonder what it is or what it was meant for. Others are likely to lie hidden for centuries.
I hope future archaeologists will be confused about the meaning and purpose of the little spheres, wondering what they are and how they got there. When I think of them puzzling over Infinity Project Planets, I remember the story about peculiar little glass goblets found in ancient sites throughout the Mideast. For years, archaeologists were stumped as to their purpose.
Were they medicinal, cosmetic, religious, or perhaps meant to be oil lamps? No one knew until the late '70s when a Corning Museum scientist found a glassblower working over an ancient furnace in Herat, Afghanistan making the same little goblet shape. It turned out that they were meant to hold water and seed for caged birds. The archaeologists had never even been close.
People who find a planet may not be archaelogists. They may know nothing about art or science, they might not be able to afford one of my pieces. I like the idea of reaching a totally new audience for my glass - not just a socially or culturally different audience but potentially people separated by hundreds of years from present time.
At least once a month, I give two Planets (one to keep, one to hide) inscribed only with the Infinity symbol to people who write to propose why, when and where they want to place a Planet. If you are selected, we will post your name and the approximate location of your hidden Planet (and hopefully your photo too).
Search this site for this Infinity Project Icon - click on it and you will be transported to the application form.
Josh Simpson Contemporary Glass
Photographs by G. Deane Bardwell, Tommy Olof Elder, Tyler Coleman Forton, Ben Interlande, Tony Interlande, Lewis Legbreaker, Wendy Miner, Jacqui Proctor, Tim Ryan Smith.