Physeter Macrocephalus (Sperm Whale).
Linnaeus, 1758.
Cetacean Odontoceti Physeteridae composed of 972 A4 papers.
1:1 Scale.
(18m x 5m)
2011

This is a life-size drawing of a Sperm Whale.

Concept:
The esence of the process, the potencial form, lies in the pilled up pieces of paper contained in a wooden box.
The main parameter that defines the work is the number of pilled up pieces of DIN A4 paper, the thickness of the box.

Setting up “Physter Macrocephalus”:
Site: William Wilkins Portico, in the University College of London Main Quadrangle.
Medium and Materials: Tensioned cables anchored to the columns of the Portico by rings composed of steel, rubber and wood, designed specificaly to help protecting those columns from any damage. Fishing Wire Warp between the tensioned cables. Individual reproductions of each of the A4 papers, unit by unit, in special paper, resistant to water and torsion.
Process: When placed in the space, each individual piece of paper mantains its autonomy as a different unit, and it relates to the other fragments to creat the Form.
Challenge and Concept: To accomplish the setting up in the Portico under know difficulties: Wind and Rain that play an important role producing movement, sound and shadows in the piece.

The assembling was prosperous, withstanding strong wind and rain. When it was almost finished an extraordinary strong wind worked as creative destructor. Not all of the fragments remained in place or were torn. Those fragments that resisted gave full meaning to the piece. The potential of this work lies in its presence as much as in its absence and its full image can be reconstructed from an individual and unique fragment that can be contained in a box. A single DIN A4 paper that resists the ravages of wind justifies the assembling.
But after two days of strong inclement weather one of the four tensioners of galvanized steel that secured the structure to the columns of the portico yielded to Nature, and the structure collapsed.
The need for adaptation to the new conditions demanded a metamorphosis in the process of assembling; a radical change that manifests the capacity of the Form to adapt with dinamism to the transformations of the process without altering the concept at all.

Here is the sperm whale represented by a tangle of wire and paper, defeated by the forces that govern Nature. Certain anatomical features can be identified.

During assembling, Form has suffered very radical changes. However, the concept has not changed: as a pile of papers contained in a wooden box, exhibiting an impressive elegance in the portico and suffering the progressive mutation of the form to end up beached on this floor, the Idea of the Whale reamins immutable.

(cross-reference: "Alma Mater")


Video Documentation of the assembling: