Wishing Well

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Some springs will not give if they get nothing in return. There is a transactional relationship between the user and the water, a ritualized give-and-take that in Germanic and Celtic folklore operates through the medium of a wishing well. A case in point is the Santa Verena spring in Baden. The wish you make, generally for healing, is something you negotiate. After whispering a wish, a coin is tossed into the well and the way in which the coin lands is considered decisive for the wish to be granted. The first device proposed here revolves around this transactional typology. Placed on a stone cone, itself in contact with the miraculous water, three copper spheres appear weightless. Doesn’t this trinity, well known from liturgy, also suggest grandmother, mother and daughter? Copper is highly sensitive to the minerals contained in miraculous waters and reacts to their power to transform and mutate, yet the metal’s antibacterial properties make it one of its primary conductors. They are connected by a ring, the Aion, the time of cycles, seasons and rebirth. Where does the coin have to go for the wish to come true, in the ring that holds the trinity together, or at the bottom of the well at the base of the cone that supports it?

Felipe Ribon, Acquae helveticae, Wishing Well, 2024
Crowned in copper
Produced by Atelier Marischael
Dimensions: D 450 x H 220 mm
Mudac Collection, Lausanne

Alpine stone basin
Produced by Panetti Marmi
Dimensions: D 1000 x H 350mm
Mudac Collection, Lausanne


How to use

  1. Take a coin from your pocket
  2. Look at the shimmering water and how the copper has weathered
  3. Make a wish
  4. Decide whether the coin should land in the ring or in the basin
  5. Toss the coin
  6. Place your trust in the sign.