Sum of Its Parts

In San Luis Obispo, California

Detail of one of three spherical sculptures on the campus of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The wiry orbs, created by artist Ivan McLean, are placed in a plaza in front of the campus’s performing arts building. From afar, the shape of the sphere as a whole (like a big, cracked Christmas ornament) betrays the view from up close that reveals a ridiculous number of small steel rectangles welded together. You see that it’s not one globe-like thing but, instead, a bunch of squares bonded together to form something round. In this case, I’m feeling the sum of the parts is actually greater than the whole.

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