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Carolina Dayer
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“Pray, read, read, read, re-read, work and you will discover” can be read at the bottom of this image from Mutus Liber, a seventeenth-century alchemical work whose authorship remains unclear. The image depicts the final and ultimate stage of the alchemical process, referred to as projection. Very early uses of the word connect the act of projecting with the practice of alchemy. It denoted the action of throwing forward, a projection of emergent congruity into potent matter. To project was to allow inner works of complex material transmutations to come forth into an exteriority that could perform in unexpected yet desirable demonstrations. The relationship between expectation and desire do not necessarily equate in alchemical processes. Projectio was an instance in the history of matter where precise procedures precipitate wondrous discoveries. It involved not just making but allowing the subject to be made by itself. It involved fortune as well as dedicated study.

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