Witnesses , 2020

The dark veil of soil once protected everything. I arrived much later. The white stone was now exposed, cut in scars and wounds to the flesh. The landscape transformed. The memory of time slowly extracted in blocks, transported in large cranes, now in our the presence, waiting for its sentence. In a shy manner I choose to introduce myself, guilty of my witness. After all, it is not everyday that we are in the presence of such an elderly ancestor.

Suddenly struck by this anachronism, I suddenly felt the nausea common of time-travelling. The rest of the group seemed unaware. For a few seconds no-one spoke a word, but all we could hear was the hypnotic and brutal sound of the diamond steel cable grinding through.

From afar, the horizon was lined by hills of the same stone, hills of offcuts, monuments to our luxury. A block whispers that it is not everyone that has the chance of becoming a statue, a mausoleum, a column, or any other architectural feature, not even a kitchen top, or a tile.

In another site, further from the origin, the stone has become domesticated. Once a seemingly untamable beast in the ground, the porosity of the stone had been eliminated, now a polished surface replaces it - it’s gloss still reflects the metallic shapes of the executors.

Now I could see it, erected in an anonymous but highly prestigious place, a non-place where selfies are taken, inhabited by creatures of short memory, but thirst for glory. I could see its vulnerability laid bare. A ruin in reverse.

I lost track of time and the sun was gone. In the blue-tones of the early night I heard strange voices and sounds. Looking closely, I saw the stones no longer erected but crumbled. I wandered through the site and with each step another fraction of time was revealed to me. The stone was now buried once more. Our ego had been forgotten and the land seemed ruled by another chaotic yet sublime law. The pressure of time, and the heat of melting distant relatives, provoked a metamorphosis, the minerals and the micas, the quartz and the pyrite, iron and oxides all forming buried deep.

I lost sight of them but I felt their warmth crystallisation. At night I had trouble sleep. Perhaps due to the excitement of my own inner minerals.

I was no longer a self. I was a continuum.

— João Gil, 2020