Silvio Vujičić (HR) Sublimation

installation: caffeine powder (C8H10N4O2), digital heater, glass, reflector, 2008

  • Sublimation is the process of transforming libido into "socially useful" achievements, mainly art. Psychoanalysts often refer to sublimation as the only truly successful defense mechanism. Sublimation is used by psychoanalysts to refer to the unconscious process by which a sexual impulse is deflected, so as to express itself in some non-sexual and socially acceptable activity. For example, a child may wish to play with feces, but in the light of parental disapproval may make clay models instead. Generally, and more loosely, sublimation represents any redirection of energy from the field of socially unacceptable to the acceptable behavior.
  • Sublimation is the transition of a substance from the solid to gaseous state with no intermediate liquid stage. At normal pressure, most chemical compounds and elements possess three different states at different temperatures. In these cases, the transition from the solid to the gaseous state requires an intermediate liquid state. However, for some elements or substances at some pressures, the material may pass directly from a solid into the gaseous state. This can occur if the atmospheric pressure exerted on the substance is too low to stop the molecules from escaping from the solid state.

Caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is the most widely used psychoactive chemical substance – a central nervous system stimulant. It was discovered by the German chemist Friedrich Ferdinand Runge in 1819, who coined the term "kaffein" to refer to the chemical compound found in coffee. Caffeine is found in beans, leaves, and fruit of plants such as kola nut, tea tree, and coffee. Theine and guaranine are synonyms of caffeine, denoting the same chemical compound. Caffeine intoxication can cause physiological and psychological side effects such as nervousness, excitement, insomnia, increased urination, irregular or rapid heartbeat. In cases of much larger overdoses mania, depression, lapses in judgment, disorientation, hallucinations, and psychosis may occur.

The process of sublimation of the white caffeine powder inside a glass terrarium at 175°C creates a mist, which results in chrystalization of caffeine at the terrarium walls and its partial evaporation into the surroundings. Inhaling the substance through the openings in the terrarium stimulates the central nervous system of the visitor.

expert support and collaboration: dr Ivona Jasprica

Silvio Vujičić (HR)

Silvio Vujičić took a degree at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb and another one at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He has shown his work at numerous collective and solo exhibitions.