Receptor (Die Bange Frage) - CODAworx

Receptor (Die Bange Frage)

Client: Alexandria Real Estate

Location: San Diego, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team


Julian Voss-Andreae

Art Consultant

Betsy Lane

Betsy Lane Art

Director of Operations

Darren Newby

Julian Voss-Andreae, Inc.


“Receptor” is a large installation for a biotech laboratory and office space in San Diego. It consists of two elements, a large seated figure in a contemplative pose and a golden orb hanging from a Torrey Pine, a rare tree that is found only in this area. The figure, appearing to look at the orb, consists of parallel slabs of polished stainless steel with gaps in between which makes the figure visually almost disappear as the viewer crosses the path of his gaze, the line between head and orb. At that angle it also become apparent that the figure’s head is hollow, with a spherical cavity that matches the size and shape of the golden orb.


I spoke with a number of people including scientists who work at the facitly and those conversations gave me the idea of a ‘receptor’ – a three dimensional positive that fits exactly into a corresponding negative space. And that coming together triggers all sorts of changes.

This gave rise to a metaphor: In order to fill what we perceive as a void inside us, we look out into the world to find that missing element that will fit perfectly, that will make us complete.

Beyond that, this is also a little bit of a cautionary tale – I would like to encourage all of us to pause every now and then, and reassess what it is we think is that element that will make us complete. To me, this is universal human question is what this work is about – I want it to be a manifestation of that pause, that contemplative moment that we need every now and then to reassess what it is that makes us ultimately happy – and that our personal happiness and well-being is inseparably connected to the happiness of everything and everyone else we share this world with.