Which way I ought to go from here?
A gift for Daphna, on her 50th birthday, from her spouse.
A gift that celebrates Daphna as the image of “Alice in Wonderland” and her family and friends as they answer her question in the image of “Cheshire cats”.
The inspiration for the birthday gift came from Daphna’s passion for photography and her love of Lewis Carroll’s books.
The gift, a bookcase, included two newly rebound books from Daphna’s bookshelf: “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll. The binding included a box with a set of fifty cards, each symbolizing a participant in Daphna’s card game. On one side of the card were photographs either taken by Daphna or representative of her, and on the other side were the participants’ answers to the question:
“which way I ought to go from here?” as if asked by Daphna.
The question, which also serves as the title of the gift, is quoted from a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire cat, in the book “Alice in Wonderland”. The conversation goes as follows:
“Alice: Will you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire cat: It largely depends on where you want to go.
Alice: I do not care so much where.
Cheshire cat: So, no matter which way you go.”
The gift embodies Daphna as the character of Alice and simulates her being crowned “queen”. The card game is only imaginary because it’s not used as a game, but the details and images that comprise it are real and taken from the reality of Daphna’s life. Contemplating Daphna’s persona and her actual “kingdom” created the game.
Art & science have always been intertwined in our family life, and the way we tried to value of the gift is a reflection of the two. The gift is a creation valued as priceless (‘lo yesula bepaz’, which from the Hebrew translates as: ‘worth more than gold’) – drops of gold and tears reflected in it in disarray.
The wonderful memories of the journey as we created the gift, the giving and receiving, tears of both excitement and joy. ‘lo yesula bepaz’ is something more valuable than gold. So we divide fifty tears according to a ratio of 31 tears of gold and 19 tears of the rarest gemstone, Painite, worth more than gold.
According to the study of Shimizu and other researchers, the weight of a tear is about 12.4 grams, so the symbolic value of the gift is calculated as 31 times 12.4 grams of gold plus another 19 times 12.4 grams Painite.
A two-way mirror is a magical and revealing object, for those standing on either side of the mirror. My gift is very similar in nature to a two-way mirror. The gift is a reflection of me in many shapes, angles and colors, but it also reflects everyone around who participated in its preparation. This reciprocity, this unveiling, one inside the other, is part of the gift’s uniqueness.
This self-reflection through the eyes of others has shown me things that are already familiar, yet still managed to surprise, fascinate and particularly, touched me very much. Add this to the considerable investment of thought and active involvement of all participants, especially the immediate family, and the hundreds of personal details intertwined in one gift, and you’ll understand why this gift is all so magical and heartwarming, and needs to be accompanied with a large a packet of tissues…