Having been quite taken with the technique that has given rise to sop's terrain collection, yet struggling to affix any words onto the creations; a thought, or rather a phrase that has come up lately - "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", is something that could be attributed to the forms and the rivers that run through each solid graspable sop block. In a topographic map, contours describe terrain, the rise and fall of land - affixed to a specific physical site, and one that can only be read through landmarks and differences in nature.

The parts that make up a sop within the terrain collection all vary wildly, but with a few commonalities. As the stem of each part is rooted in different terrain -- plant oils, flowers, leaves, sediment, fingers - they are all still of the earth, and they make up the sop object in distinct measures, enough of each to produce a stable (and satisfying) block. This is supposedly the whole.

A whole: possibly seen in the shape of a circle or a sphere, the largest in our (semi)comprehension being a planet.

[sop] made from many parts that converge and cling to each other, somewhat forced by a hand but not so much forced as rather coalesced, transmitted, moulded, encouraged - the parts are asked to stick and get along. The fact that nature here, as it is exists within sop (as at one point extracted from and then somewhat inserted back into [nature - terrain sop as nature!]) is indicative of the flow of land, topographic maps, crests and swells of waves - a sign of completing the circle, and enacting cyclical life so to speak.

Where these elements break out of the whole (speaking to the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) is where all these points converge and realise themselves as erosive and useful. By erosive there is a clear relation of land and sop, where both erode over time, one through use by the hand and one by the sea.

Use by hand is how sop is shown to be use-ful. Here is an object that can be viewed, but the parts that make it up extend themselves outwards to the body-part. Contact with the skin is both the enactment of cyclical life and its performative function: it transfers the good stuff of nature onto the skins' surface and washes away the body's debris.

So thinking of the terrain collection in light of a misquoted Aristotelian phrase is interesting when you realise there is a function to something so well rounded and pleasing to all the human senses; it is impossible for any two pieces from the same batch to look identical, and even more unlikely that the second time making a batch will resemble the first* - which must mean that all the parts work together slightly differently each time to produce a "greater" outcome.

* sundog 2


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