The next morning, the ritual fire from Use a Hammer is a pile of ash and melted mirrors. The weather has shifted; the wind has picked up; summer is ending. Using a steel bucket and a larger steel pail, I gather up every piece of melted mirror from the dewy grass.
Within the candle perimeter, there is a piece of red yarn stretched between four steel nails, drawing out a smaller rectangular space on the floor, itself a golden rectangle as well. The halogen work lights from the night before are watching.
I put on the pair of white gloves from Phase Change and use a box of matches to light the set of candles. With great care, I place each piece of broken fired mirror within the bounds of the red yarn, forming a fractured organic mosaic, whose structure comes into being with the addition of each new piece of glass.
This mosaic of mirrors “transcends and includes” all of the former identities. It doesn’t reject or repress them, but integrates them into a new and larger wholeness that is no longer constrained by the old definitions.
I work all night until dawn. As the lights go dark, the camera glides over the space as I lay on the floor, with the completed mosaic emerging from my head like some kind of thought bubble from a childhood cartoon — a new wholeness constructed from all of the fragments.
In the days that followed, I developed a strange inflammation of my tongue, lips, and mouth, with my taste buds painfully swollen. Perhaps it was the dust from the barn, or perhaps the many outdated identities finally leaving my body.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this mosaic of mirrors would end up remaining in that very place for the next six years — witnessing all the many changes that were about to unfold on the land. In this way, the broken mirrors were to become like batteries, absorbing the energy of the ritual work that was yet to come.