Casting Is a Mourner's Plea

Originally published in Cast: Art and Objects Made Using Humanity's Most Transformational Process


Casting is a mourner’s plea, a not-yet-ready reckoning with loss on the threshold. This plea turns to an irrational rebellion and refusal, insisting on the exactitude of the replica as a form of cheating death: the cast as after-life. But in this solemn effort, this casting-as-rebellion-to-death, one must come to terms with the futility of the gesture. Something changed—through the uneasy mix of earth, chemicals, and emotional expectations; in the trembling of the pour; the breaking of the inexact mold that now passes on its impurities like an heirloom; the materials struggling to embody the impossibility now asked of them; and disappointment that the grief still persists. In the cast’s inevitable mutations, fluctuations, and inadequacies is the mourner’s chance for a reluctant but open-eyed honesty: it can never be the same. Instead of the cast as after-life—as forever-preserved replication—the cast becomes a form of healing in the present life, a truce with the transient.