“Nobody remembers why it was radioactive in the first place”
INHERITANCE consists precious jewellery, a necklace, earing and a broche, which are radioactive and therefore rendered practically and symbolically unwearable for deep time, until the radionuclide transmute naturally into a stable and non radioactive isotope of lead. Together with an electromechanical device to determine the remaining radioactivity the jewellery is stored in a concrete container which is build to endure over a vast amount of time. With these items the story goes that each time the jewellery is handed over from one generation to the next, the ritual of measurement determines if the jewellery can finally be brought in use and fulfill its promise of wealth and identity or if it has to be stored away until the next generation.
The jewellery is stored in a stackable concrete container which houses all the elements and accessories to perform the ritual of measurement. In the copper top plate the instructions for the ritual are engraved. The uppermost layer contains the time piece which is modelled after one of the first instruments to measure time, a Fenjaan water clock. The next layer contains the accessories to operate the electroscope: spare gold leaves which are the indicator for the electrostatic charge, and a acrylic rod on a piece of rabbit fur to electro-statically charge the electroscope. After that comes the layer with the electroscope, the first instrument which was used to register and measure the phenomena caused be radioactivity, also used by Marie and Pierre Curie in their laboratory (though in a different design). It is based on the principle that radioactivity is able to discharge an electro-statically charged body. The last layer contains the radioactive jewellery.