Need proof that the sober social scene is gaining heat? At last weekend’s Art Basel in Miami Beach—basically, the champagne capital of North America—one of the most popular hangs wasn’t a party or a poolside bar, but a pop-up alchemy lab doling out spiritually charged, mind-altering botanical elixirs.
The installation, titled “Ritual Jupiter Empowerment,” came courtesy of Jason Harler of American Medicinal Arts, an artist, filmmaker, and holistic medicine maker who’s revered in the healing arts world as the iconclastic genius who has developed spas like those at The Standard Miami and the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. At the request of art insiders Alan Faena and Ximena Caminos, Harler packed up his Texas alchemy lab and transported it to Miami, where he spent seven days creating essence of melissa (an herb also known as lemon balm).
Calling on astrology, alchemy, and magic, Harler’s process is basically a work of art in itself, and his elixir bar gave patrons a chance to witness his method up close. They were also able to sip on the finished product, which its creator describes as a mood elevator. “It’s very open-hearted and generous, and makes you feel giggly,” he says. “It’s a great extract to have when you’re busy and dealing with people and you don’t want to get crabby.”
Naturally, this high-vibe haven was a hit among frazzled festivalgoers. “Everything took place in a triangle-shaped space with floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Harler, who also created a mesmerizing short film about altars and rituals for the project. “People just came and lounged and connected. There was no booze, no drugs, nothing—just pure medicinal arts.”
Suffering from serious FOMO right now? Don’t sweat it—Harler predicts that woo-woo wellness experiences like this will become way more mainstream as interest grows among the masses. (And so do we.) “The wisdom traditions of the world offer a [path] to meaning and purpose,” he explains when asked why we’re seeing such a shift. “And the information age we’re in is a really unique time…none of this stuff is secret anymore.” Who knows—maybe next year in Miami, everyone will be trading the bubbly for ashwagandha tonics.