Isabel Mallet - /\  .-'.'.'.'-.  /\



Confined to this building, we scan the ground for openings, finding five.

Five circular panels of stainless steel about the size of a handspan, each engraved with ten concentric circles.

Five digits one side. Ten Digits as a whole.

Two parts mixing in my two hands, kneading, working until consistency allows pushing into middle of panel, fingers flatten mixture print by print, filling one groove at a time until spread over the whole panel, covering it’s own fingerprint with hundreds of ours.

On the floor peeling off the mold, we listen to this perfectly concentric fingerprint that conceals the vessel, the network, the architectural hollow that is in permanent shadow (guts). Put a fingertip on this fingertip. Our ridges move over your ridges: it sounds. Receptor or erogenous zone. Orifice or neuron. Black hole or supernova. Spitting or swallowing. Action potential is above and below but who is receiving what? Whose receptors, whose fingertips? Who’s fingering who? Who’s feeling who?

In each one (of these five elements, phases, agents, movements, processes, planets, receptors, orifices, neurons) there are three screws. We take them out and pop the lid. Concealing the truth is darkness (and cobwebs) but we smell and feel the centre. Each one a vessel, which is really a tube, a network of tubes, not a pot or a hole: a vessel. Five vessels, cores, reaching for the centre, we know because the drill bit melts when we reach eight miles down, but we still have another 3,992 miles to go until we reach thecentre of what?

Dendrochronology is time according to trees, time as a series of concentric tubes. The earth is not flat or tube-like but a flexing spheroid. The eight mile core sample came out and we laid it out, every step another million years. A Correlated History. The annulus is the space in between concentric circles. Annulus, anus, Annus. That’s time. Rings around a hole. Time is space and volume. Steps. The first step reveals scraps of metal and plastic, nothing really, then for the next several millennia bits of broken pottery, a few steps, then finally some soil before the misery of agriculture, some chert flakes, cracked stones from campfires, a few more steps and we’re underwater, then molluscs and brachiopods and echinoderms for lots and lots of steps. After 380 steps we see a spider (?!), we put down a survey pin. But we’ve seen plenty by then. We’re not even an eighth of the the way there. It’s getting hot.

We look at these five core samples, laid next to each other in parallel, imagining an interpolated volume from these five sites (elements, phases, agents, movements, processes, planets, receptors, orifices, neurons) to the centre, what are we seeing, hearing? Grumbling magma. Nearly a straight line, we guess. They are so close relative to the size of earth, at most twenty feet away. Why are they not placed further apart on the Earth? Hm.

[Exploding creates crossing creates splitting creates drilling creates (all this) crushing.]

The number five makes us turn our gaze from the centre – us – to the edge – them. WE SEE. We are seers, like Giordano Bruno on the rooftop smoking, concentricity disappears in a single moment. The volume is becoming something substantial, warped pentagram projecting toward the outer reaches, the distance between the five (sites, tombstones, elements, phases, agents, movements, processes, planets, receptors, orifices, neurons) becomes greater until it reaches the edge of the universe, unspeakable infinity, but here is nowhere; you can’t measure distance at the edge of the universe because it’s not linear, you can’t place a point, only an idea.

So the volume of the five (sites, tombstones, elements, phases, agents, movements, processes, planets, receptors, orifices, neurons) dissolves (thankfully) and we’re left with the place and space they are in now. Polyurethane accumulating in the concentric grooves. Dull blots compared to the infinite space of a page. But they are not dull, and a page is not infinite. It’s a premonition. If you hang around long enough you’ll see.