Something to Leave Behind: Former Explainer Participates in Josh Simpson’s Infinity Project

Imagine finding a beautifully preserved piece of glass in the most unexpected of places and wanting to know the story behind it. That’s exactly what happened when Massachusetts glass artist Josh Simpson discovered five handmade glass marbles in an old garden bed outside his kitchen door in 1976. It struck Josh that much of the glass we see in museums today was once buried—lost to history, unearthed only during archaeological digs. Josh decided that if he hid some of his glass art, perhaps one day people would stumble upon his work and put it in a museum.

Today, more than 1,800 of Josh’s glass planets are hidden all over the world—part of what he calls the Infinity Project. They’ve been dropped out of his airplane window (in remote locations!), placed in the depths of the ocean, left at the summits of mountains, and even hidden in plain sight. And he maps it all out on his website. Josh encourages people to write to him to suggest a spot they’d like to leave a planet.

Megaplanet, Josh Simpson, Shelburne Falls, MA, 2006. H: 31.2 cm, Diam (max): 33.5 cm, Weight: 107.25 lb. (2006.4.154)

Megaplanet, Josh Simpson, Shelburne Falls, MA, 2006. H: 31.2 cm, Diam (max): 33.5 cm, Weight: 107.25 lb. (2006.4.154)

With Liz Caroscio’s time at Drew University coming to a close, she knew she wanted to leave something behind. Having been an Explainer at the Museum for the previous five summers, she loved Josh’s 100-pound Megaplanet, and would often stop to talk about it on tours. While doing a little research, she discovered Josh’s Infinity Project, and kept it in the back of her mind as something she’d like to do one day.

Former Museum Explainer, Liz Caroscio, hides a Josh Simpson planet  at Drew University before she graduates.

Former Museum Explainer, Liz Caroscio, hides a Josh Simpson planet at Drew University before she graduates.

Last summer, Drew University installed a labyrinth on campus. It had long been a dream of Liz’s advisor, Dr. Marguerite Keane, a medieval historian. Liz knew the artist, Gabriele Hiltl-Cohen, who planned the design of the labyrinth and carved all the stones. With these personal connections, Liz knew it was the perfect place for her to leave her mark.

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“Labyrinths symbolize a spiritual journey and also our journey through life,” Liz said. “Drew University was such an important part of my personal journey and I felt as if burying one of Josh Simpson’s planets would help me to mark this journey. I like knowing that I am leaving something behind as I move on with my life.

“To me, the Infinity Project is a lot about remembering and commemorating the important places in our lives,” she continued. “I have grown so much during my time at Drew, and it felt like the perfect place to hide a planet.”

Liz Caroscio sits next to her buried glass planet.

Liz Caroscio sits next to her buried glass planet.

Liz graduated from Drew University on May 16 with a degree in art history. Next year, she plans to attend Parsons The New School for Design to study glass and get her masters in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies. She credits The Corning Museum of Glass with helping her “find her passion in life.”

All photos, with the exception of Megaplanet, are courtesy of Kether Tomkins and Liz Caroscio.

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