The Whole Story

Museums are cool. Wherever you go you will surely find amazing, beautiful, weird collections of stuff that someone has pulled together. Even before humans crawled from the muck, we have been creatures that collect. Whether displayed in grand marbled galleries or dusty window sills, things have value that we cherish and want to share. A friend once told me that her son collected the baby teeth he had lost and exhibited them in a toy dump truck on his bookshelf. The great comedian George Carlin used to say our homes were just "places for our stuff."

So this Round stuff started pretty innocently and, ironically, in a museum. As museum people, my wife and I are always checking them out when we travel, taking lots of pictures along the way. A few years ago we took our kids over to the Independence Seaport Museum here in Philadelphia to check out the 1895 USS Olympia naval cruiser and the 1944 USS Becuna submarine that are both docked along the river. Down in the bowels of the Becuna, every nook and cranny of space is valuable real estate so there is not one place you look where you don't see something - gauges, cables, pipes, stairs. I was taking pictures as usual and marveling at the intricacy of the engineering and machinery. Looking down the barrel of a torpedo tube and positioning the camera view directly at the center point, the perspective was amazing. And a round became the "Round."

You see, "Round" is about point of view. A circle is the most common and universal shape, a thing that by definition is a continuous curved line always the same distance from a fixed center point; in three dimensions, a sphere. Being "Round" is of the eye. It is perspective with symmetry and balance, wholeness and limitlessness. It is how you look at things and, perhaps more importantly, how you position yourself when you look at them. So, if you look at a cup from the side you see a particular quadrilateral shape. If you look at a cup from above or below... it is Round.

I bet once you take a look, you will see Round.

-- Richard Cress