'One could therefore say .. that in the case of both photo and cast the element of contact remains a guarantee of uniqueness, authenticity and power – and therefore of aura [...] Mechanical reproduction, then, does not forcibly destroy aura, as Walter Benjamin claimed.'
Sven Lutticken “The Imaginary Museum of Plaster Casts”
…has been called the “filling of empty space”, which is wonderfully vague and suggestive of formlessness, were it not for the limit encountered on the edge of the space, which is often called “mould surface”, and which predicates that a cast often also entails a preceding mould, and possibly a model that precedes them both, at which point I am reminded of such complicating criteria as success and likeness (in translations, renditions, authenticity, etc.). It is much less complicated if there is then not so much a single entity (called cast), but really rather more a series of moments, linked, and only sometimes artificially singled-out for the purpose of recognition and evaluation (might also be called verisimilitude [see authenticity]). Instead of this single moment of recognition (which is often also negotiated through the dialectical terms of presence and absence), it might also be possible to conceive of and participate in an ongoing series of deferrals outside recognition (entailing small deaths on my part), which speaks more of thirdness in a Peircean sense.
Guessing that the term is most likely here for it's part in sculptural processes (surrounding a three dimensional object in a material, removing the object then refilling the void space to create a replica of the original object) I'm enjoying thinking about it instead in the theatrical sense, where the 'cast' refers to the group of actors gathered for a particular production of a play. It's understood in this case that the play is a kind of container - carrier of a particular semantic and dramaturgical sequence/order/shape - but also understood that any particular 'cast' will inhabit and animate this vessel differently. Also interesting that this process - of the cast inhabiting and animating the container of the play - is a dynamic unpredictable one, a matter or complex inter-relations, impulses and counter-impulses which will play-out differently at any particular iteration of the performance.
Cast is a word of various implications - we casts forms or shadows. We cast by throwing, broadly or narrowly. We cast out. Cast is something we do to make something else happen.
..are we essentially replaced? - does the cast do away with the original body?
An imitation of the original object ...disguised as the same body with new flesh and skin