A Double Nature

The heap is the overlooked player on the field. A player both passive and active, wielding its agency of change.

Photographing is a way of activating perception. A method of connecting and concentrating the vision to the consciousness and to understanding. A recognizable object easily slides away from attention when it lacks an obvious meaning, even when infinitely repeated. It gets sorted away and becomes hidden in plain sight. Like a chameleon, it changes its camouflage in our minds. By directing the camera lens, one does not only point, but also assign meaning: in the most banal it is possible to find material for manifestos.

Once found, the heap-shape has a clear presence and visual impact founded on the circle and the triangle. The Greek letter ∆ (delta) connects to the heap in an almost magical way; the shape itself, and in later mathematical use, in the description of change. The heap too is part of the process of change, being there  as a result or reason. Or just an intermediate state.

The heap reveals actions in both the present and the past. It gives us an indication of what is to come, since it carries the latent image of future happenings – traces of incidents and temporality.

Nature and culture meet in the heap. The heap is one of our first and most basic architectural forms, and at the same time a shape resulting from mere gravitation. The triangular and circular shapes of the heap are created by resistance. The shape finds its balance in these forms, pulled down and pointing upwards. Pressure as glue.

The monumental and eternal connects to the endurance of the form and how it withstands the elements. When the ice covering the North withdrew, residues created heaps, which remained intact after ten thousand years. In antiquity heaps were built as a means to rescue people and property from flooding. In the fertile areas between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the structure became a place of safety for the rich and their crops. The function of the form of the pyramids of Egypt is both symbolic and physical. The sand heap on the street corner, at the opposite end of the scale, only lasts a few days before it is transported or used as fill, but shares the same economy of containment and availability. The heap plays both sides: a monument or just a pile of shit.

The heap also highlights different agendas depending on which part of the world it sits in. It gives us a political comment on human endeavors, where the geographic position indicates a unique reason for heaps to occur: peace, war, economy, environment or history, for example. Its shape is recognizable and repetitive, and it mirrors the singularities of the place. The heap is like the blind prophet in ancient Greek drama; the fixed point in an ever changing environment.

The equilibrium created by the visual impact of combined shape and weight connects heaven and earth and reminds us of our intergalactic predicament.

Dig where you stand.

HEAP ORIGIN: Old English hēap, ”pile, great number, multitude,” from West Germanic *khaupaz (cf. Old Saxon hop, Middle Low German hupe, Dutch hoop, Old High German, hufo, German Haufe – ”heap”), probably related to Old English heah ”high.” -WordBook App