In a reverse-pyrolysis, the wooden mallet came into being. It was a changing of state, floating between mineral and organic matter. Back and forth, and back and forth, the process seemed both slow and fast. A hand reached into the coals to extract the instrument. Despite appearances, the fate of the mallet had been determined long ago, in a parallel time where rock, fire, and lignin intertwined.
The marble was slowly worn down as the force from the artist’s hand moved through the mallet, and along the chisel to meet the stone. At the point of impact, the chisel marked both marble and mallet. By way of a material displacement the marble diminished, shards shooting off into the space surrounding it. Until, in an instant, the head of the mallet split in two: the marble reacting against its own transformation.
But the instant was an illusion, possessing a thickness of its own. The fracture – which announced itself as the mallet, chisel and marble came together – had been sitting and waiting long before that moment. With each strike of the chisel, the weakness advanced. It was there as the tree grew, as the timber was felled, and the block was cut to form the tool that now rested in the hand of the artist. A prophetic flaw, casting itself against the strength of the material it desperately wanted to shift.
The repetitive movement of the mallet adopted the characteristics of its cousin, the gavel, separating time into a before and after. It simultaneously marked and created a shift. At a single beat everything that was, became no longer, and all that was not, had suddenly arrived. A vow of inversion. The tool, which existed only to define the space between the past and the future, broke at the point of definition, severing itself from both.
Powdered marble re-formed around the broken tool. Encased in the compressed white particles, the organic cells of the wooden mallet soon filled with the minerals that surrounded them. A process of permineralisation occurred. One by one each organic cell decayed, and was replaced with stone. The fracture in the mallet’s head – which had appeared as the marble revolted – became preserved in the rock. A tomb, sealed for a time.