Tomato Ketchup and the Universe
Thoughts towards physical connections
I am beginning to develop an affinity with the humble tomato sauce bottle. It is an affinity which I inexplicably feel reluctant to share, yet it provides me with many intriguing questions that demand exploration.
Imagine, if you will, a restaurant comprising of 64 square tables, 32 of them with white tablecloths and 32 of them with black tablecloths. A communal table exists for storing various condiments, including 32 bottles of the aforementioned tomato sauce.
So, 32 bottles exist, as do 64 squares: The same proportion of bottles to table as chess pieces to playing squares on a board. And yet the bottles are not restricted to rules. Each one has the same value, and can exist on any table. Indeed, more than one can exist at any one table, and none have to exist on tables at all. The amount of possible positions each bottle could take in relation to the others is almost overwhelming. We can even take this further and suggest that each bottle has the potential to be handled by countless individuals, who within the area of one table will be able to position the bottle differently time and time again.
It is a concept which almost teeters on the brink of infinity, without arriving there completely. It is a number which does exist, and so can readily be related to. But so massive is the number that it is only really appropriate to consider it in a qualitative way: The exact number does not matter because the process of imagining 32 sauce bottles being able to move freely between 64 tables whilst being handled by countless individuals provides one with this sense of enormity. It will be a number higher than the number of stars in the sky, yet astonishingly, it is the sky that is revered and seen as having some kind of majestic and spiritual prowess, not sauce bottles.
Can such concepts be rendered coherently in a visual way? Do they need to be? My post-university preoccupations were always intended to juxtapose the everyday and domestic nature of food with the universal and spiritual nature of the conceptual: And frankly, what better place to start than condiments against astronomical numeracy? Of course, this whole thing works with any bottle of sauce. But everyone loves a bit of the old tomato ketchup from time to time, don’t they?