Warren Handley

As well as graphic symbolism, western cartography uses the human made processes of geometry as a way of both measuring and ordering the relative vastness of the space that we inhabit on this Earth. However the Euclidean based geometry used to project the world onto a flat piece of paper is only useful for describing human made objects and forms, such as cubes and prisms. Therefore when used to project the irregular spherical shape of the Earth onto a two-dimensional plane, inevitable abstraction occurs in its representation. Furthermore it is impossible to take three-dimensional space and project onto a flat two-dimensional plane without some form of distortion taking place. This apparent abstraction in cartography is often masked by the mathematic and supposedly objective aesthetic that geometry portrays.

It can be seen that the process of projecting this human made system onto the world within cartography is also reflected in how we physically construct it. All over the western world the use of the Euclidean grid can be found in how cities have been structured and laid out. Cities are abundant with architecture built using the system of geometry, the archetypal skyscraper being that of a rectangular prism. Furthermore the imposing of geometry onto the world can literally be seen in how trees are fashioned into geometric shapes to build furniture.

“We have literally imposed geometry on the planet, flattening the ground and building cities on grids of roads laid parallel and at precises right angles” (Turchi, 2004, 162).

Despite the unnatural rigidness of such geometric manifestations, the slick minimalist aesthetic of basic geometric objects is something that is either loved or hated. For me, particular resonance is found in the juxtaposition of slick geometric form with a contrastingly raw and organic aesthetic. This series of prism sculptures seeks to simultaneously explore the boundaries between the graphic representation of three-dimensionality and actual manifestations of it, whilst also exploring the aesthetic paradox between contrasting processes of creation.


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