Chris DeLaurenti to Carrie E.A. Scott:

Trimpin compellingly unites sound and sculpture, sometimes on a spectacular scale. Yet Trimpin is quite unlike his forerunners such as the Baschet brothers, Harry Bertoia, and Len Lye (whose compelling retrospective album, Composing Motion, was issued earlier this month on Atoll), all of whom fashioned abstract forms mainly out of metal.

Instead, Trimpin often works with the raw, but recognizable elements of traditional music—instruments, notation, and pitched sound—and redesigns, agglomerates, and even explodes them, as seen in two installations recently shown here in Seattle: Phffft at the Henry Art Gallery and Sheng High at Consolidated Works.

But Trimpin wants us to look, too. Pieces such as If VI Was IX—that frozen cyclone of electric guitars installed at EMP—and his prototype dual mouthpiece "stereo trombone" made in the 1970s impel us to re-see musical instruments that today, due to mass-manufacturing, have become lazy icons that all look alike to the hasty eye.

As a composer who reimagines and invents traditional instruments (pipe organ, marimba, electric guitar), Trimpin is a spiritual descendent of American mavericks Charles Ives, Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, Henry Brant, and Harry Partch.

Like Ives and Brant, Trimpin explores the organic spatialization of acoustic sound in new and novel ways that may someday surpass the speaker-based Acousmonium of Francois Bayle and the GRM. Like Partch, who fashioned parts of his famed instrumentarium (Spoils of War, Cloud Chamber Bowls) out of junk and the detritus of military surplus, Trimpin exhumes components for his pieces at thrift stores (Dadadata Storage), Boeing Surplus, and industrial electronic parts-supply houses.

And like Nancarrow, whose hand-punched player piano rolls not only confirm him as the 20th century's king of rhythmic complexity but also the unwitting godfather of sonifying data into music, Trimpin's own scrappy use of data sonification (including MIDI) to drive electro-mechanical devices has made him a lodestar to younger sculptors and gadgeteers—especially those affiliated with the dorkbot community here in Seattle.

Carrie to Chris:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Trimpin is a genius inventor. He, as Chris notes, reimagines and reinvents traditional instruments and even invents new ones. But from what I've seen, Trimpin's work—sorry Chris—does not make for compelling art. Often, it is both sonically and visually boring.

Take Trimpin's last installation, Sheng High, which I wrote about for The Stranger. In ConWorks' enormous gallery, Sheng High's jungle of bamboo tripods—instruments that Trimpin invented based on a traditional Chinese instruments called the sheng—were hooked up to a scanner reading a massive wall of twinkling compact discs as a musical score. This graphic notation system, while dazzling, seems random and more like something found in a dorm room than a gallery, while the shengs look like some modern-day version of the famous futurist painter Luigi Russolo's Intonarumori.

And, adding to this unfinished quality, Sheng High's score was comparable to an orchestra warming up. It never reached a crescendo and it never seemed to matter. It just was not that interesting to listen to. That's not to say that Sheng High isn't a technological masterpiece—its intricacies were overwhelming—but once you figure out how it works, there's little left to enjoy. Sheng High is essentially a gigantic—and exposed—CD player.

Trimpin is not alone here as this is frequently a problem for sound art, where the actual scores and compositions presented with these sculptures can sound and look uninspired. If situated in the evolution of early sound art or experimental media, the sounds might be interesting. But listening to these scores from a contemporary perspective, the use of ambient noise is no more groundbreaking than the 1970s early work of composer Brian Eno or sound artist Bill Fontana.

And visually, sound artists often make the mistake of simply "super-sizing" preexisting technologies. Sound-artist Marina Rosenfeld's work, for instance, is indistinguishable from what you might hear being spun by any DJ. And, though blown up to a larger scale, the video projection accompanying the sounds is little more compelling than Apple Computer's latest screensaver.

But I digress. I've yet to see Trimpin's latest installation, SHHH, at Suyama Space (I'm heading down there today) and have a feeling I might find it more compelling than Sheng High or Phffft, which, in all its plastic Tonka-truck-like glory was recently at the Henry. From press photographs, SHHH looks polished and refined. And, from the text in the press release, it sounds like it might be more intricate (who knew this was possible) and original than Trimpin's other work: A rotating sphere orbits around a floating 18-foot-diameter metal ring and produces a layering of sound caused from the rotations. The speed of the ball (and thus, the sound the piece makes) changes when a viewer is in close proximity to the piece. Sounds promising, right?

That I'm hopeful and open to liking SHHH actually speaks to the question of how important Trimpin is. I am clearly compelled by Trimpin's work and it clearly evokes a response: I am moved by it, even if I am moved to dislike it. I just don't think he took Sheng High and Phffft as far as he might and could have. That being said, I'm constantly expecting that he'll get beyond simply making big instruments and then make big (as in inspiring and inspired) art. My fingers are crossed.

Chris to Carrie:

Sonically and visually boring? We can argue this one piece by piece, component by component, solenoid by solenoid, bolt by bolt. Viewers and listeners will have to judge for themselves; I can only advise to look, not just once from afar, but closely at how Trimpin arranges his components as well as the grander outlay between devices.

At one of his open studio sessions for Phffft last year, I asked Trimpin about the work's color scheme. He shrugged and replied, "Whatever was around," which belied a careful attention to color, seen not only in his scores and sketches but in Phffft —Carrie, your "Tonka-truck-like" is vividly apt—and in the faux bamboo of Sheng High.

By the way, Sheng High's score is hardly comparable to an orchestra warming up. During warm-ups and at intermission, orchestras almost invariably do reach a crescendo simply due to the steady return of players to the stage, who then futz, noodle, rehearse, and sometimes create some breathtaking unintended collective improvisations. (I have an album of such recordings coming out later this year, by the way.)

Sheng High cannot be correctly compared to an exploded CD player; a better analogy would be to a music box. CD players read data on a continuous, linear spiral while music boxes and player pianos read data horizontally across a plane.

Yet after finding the metaphors that lurk in Trimpin's pieces, there is much to listen to, often too much. I suspect that there has been little analysis or even exposition of Trimpin's composing due to the necessity of waiting for all of the iterations in the piece (as in Sheng High) as well as the paucity of skilled or at least interesting instrumentalists to play Trimpin's sculptures.

Someone should start a Trimpin Ensemble, a group of musicians (or at least talented listeners) who spend enough time learning the controls and parameters of Trimpin's various pieces to perform them. Done clumsily, such a group would contravene the open and public nature of Trimpin's work, however a considerate and skilled collective could exhume the musical riches as well as expose any deeper defects lurking in the pieces.

Until then, I advise viewers and listeners to just listen, and listen for a long time, a trait inimical to American gallery culture. When I visited New York's MoMA in Queens several years ago, I was appalled to see that Van Gogh's Starry Night, that vertiginous whirl of buzz-saw yellows, whites, and greens blazing through a sea of azure and atramentous blues, merited maybe 30 seconds, or at most a minute of viewer attention. My own 10 minutes were watched with suspicion. I haven't been to the Louvre in many years, but back then I idled before Ingres for what felt like hours—and no one cared.

What is most musically significant for me is Trimpin's use of space or more precisely, the spatialization of sound. While most listeners have profound responses to pitch, timbre, dynamics and so on, there really isn't a comparable set of reactions—a grammar if you will—to spatialized sound apart from the extremes of close contiguity and distant, reverberating sound.

Indeed, the failure of the DVD-A and Super Audio CD formats as well as the carelessness with which most people place speakers in their homes (on the floor, behind a chair, etc., instead of mounted at ear level) and use crappy, ear-damaging earbud headphones attest to general public's insensibility to sound in space and listening in general.

I agree that artists struggle to integrate sound and visual art. Few escape or successfully explore the Four Bugbears: the soundtrack loop; sound relegated to incidental accompaniment; sound presented in a poor acoustic situation; and sound that just doesn't hang together as a coherent piece.

I don't understand how "the use of ambient noise is no more groundbreaking than the 1970s early work of composer Brian Eno or sound artist Bill Fontana." Substitute "violin" or "sequencer" or "the color blue" for "ambient noise" (whatever that is!) and maybe you'll agree that it is not the mere use of a device, technique, or object—there are always progenitors, after all—but the specific use of the item in question that determines whether a work is groundbreaking. Trimpin's work is much too multifarious to rely on a single element or principle.

As an aside, Marina Rosenfeld's work is profoundly distinguishable from what you might hear being spun by any DJ. How many other DJs custom-press their own vinyl acetates? Rosenfeld's Arm Dormant on the 2004 compilation Melatonin (::Room 40::) abounds with delectable crackles and tolling bumps in her remix of Stephen Vitiello's Dorm Ant (Forest). The accompanying projection at her On the Boards performance—which served as a graphic score—was interesting, but admittedly nowhere near as compelling as the music. But when are scores supposed to trump sound? That's what intrigues me about her work. I suspect Rosenfeld's aim is to create a graphic video score as motile and complex as Earle Brown's December 1952.

Trimpin's SHHH is indeed promising; when I visited last week, Trimpin mentioned someday placing a speaker inside the ball rolling inside the metal ring. Several metal rings might be deployed concentrically and create the true 3-dimensionsal sound (with real Doppler effects!) that Stockhausen sought in his EXPO '70 installation at the Osaka World's Fair and later in Oktophonie.

Carrie to Chris:

Well, Chris, it seems you are right. My analogies are off. Sheng High isn't comparable to an orchestra warming up or a CD player. As you point out, the work is less sophisticated than both these things.

And, I love the idea of a Trimpin ensemble. The unintentional sounds that would emerge from a group of people playing Trimpin's instruments (let's call these things what are) promises something much more interesting than his pieces alone.

But, Chris, I stand by my opinion: Trimpin's work just doesn't do it for me.

I went to see SHHH. While its gyrating rhythm is somewhat hypnotic—a friend who is movement therapist said it looks like a simple neuromuscular reeducation technique that involves the rotation of the pelvis—it'd be far more interesting to watch, say, The Stranger staff rotate their own pelvises than to hang out with SHHH. And Chris, much like you, I've spent hours in front of paintings and what seems like days in installations, so please don't think my attention span for art is short.

But again, I digress. Trimpin's latest installation is, as I've said of his earlier pieces, a technological accomplishment but, as an art object, I have a hard time relating to it. There's no point of entry, no way to form a human relationship with the work. SHHH is just an enormous and somewhat ominous object undulating in the middle of a room making the noise that it's name onomatopoetically suggests. In other words, it doesn't shift or heighten my experience of the world.

This is something I think sound art can do. In an attempt to understand sound art better, I recently studied artists who have been grouped together by visual art institutions under the rubric of "sound art." I set out to see if there was a common thread between these artists. Centering my discussion on the effect their work has on the audience, it became clear that sound artists make the act of listening and seeing (or perceiving) a subject in their work.

Max Neuhaus's Times Square (1979, then recently reinstalled) is a good example of this. He uses sound to define and amplify his audience's bodily experience. Amidst teenagers trying to get on MTV and tourists waiting to get discount tickets to Broadway shows, sandwiched between the New York Times and Conde Nast Buildings, the subtle tones that emit from Neuhaus's installation are easy to miss when there is so much already going on. Nonetheless, Neuhaus provides a deep and complex sensory experience. With our aural senses piqued, Times Square heightens the sensory experience of being in Manhattan. The sounds, the smells, the visuals of the city are all more intense because Neuhaus enhances the sounds of the city. Times Square demonstrates just how our position in life is understood by both our visual senses and our aural senses.

Several contemporary sound artists are able to achieve many of the same effects that Times Square does. As evolving out of this early work, artists like Janet Cardiff, Rodney Graham, Christian Marclay, Bruce Nauman, and Stephen Vitiello to name just a few all use the material or medium of sound to draw attention to and in some ways deconstruct our ways of perceiving (through seeing and hearing) the world. They get their audiences tangibly involved with more than just the sound of the work. We become more attentive when experiencing their work—the sounds we heard, the smells encountered, the sights all seem to matter more.

Trimpin's work, however, doesn't have the same effect. Rather than fully experiencing his work, I deconstruct it, trying to understand what it is and how it works, but my senses don't get any more involved than that.

Chris to Carrie:

Trimpin's work straddles the crevasse that threatens the comprehension of technologically dependent art. In America, the assumption is that when you walk into a gallery, a symphony concert, or a poetry reading, you'll get it just like that, just by being there. But access is no assurance of understanding.

(And who wants to insist that weeks, months, years and decades of understanding and hard-won experience may be required to grasp a work? Certainly not presenters who want to attract as large an audience as possible; and even writers like yours truly fret about thundering too loudly about the circuitous, rocky road to understanding music or any other kind of art.)

Earlier in our debate, I suggested that Trimpin's work should be examined piece by piece, component by component, solenoid by solenoid, bolt by bolt. Someday, knowledgeable critics will wax poetic on an as yet unborn installation artist's use of the vintage Winbond ISD2560 ChipCorder chip—just as photography scholars understand Man Ray's use of solarization or music scribes should understand how the inner workings of turntables, samplers, and ProTools have shaped popular music in the latter half of the 20th century.

Will critics deepen their knowledge or will we see a divide similar to the cordoning off of science fiction from the canon of great literature?

Trimpin's work looks easy. Touch a button, twist a dial, and something happens. But in his strongest work, sculptural contraptions encourage us to loiter, wait, listen, explore, and make art out of Trimpin's art.

Here are two questions for you, Carrie: What do think Trimpin should do to make Pffft or Sheng High satisfying art? What is Trimpin's place in 20th century sculpture? Has his work "stepped off the pedestal?"

Carrie to Chris:

Now Chris, from what I've read on your website, it seems you are in a better position to answer your first question than me. You are a musician and thus have some rights (and talent) when it comes to making music and art.

I, on the other hand, am a critic, not an artist, and thus cannot get tied up in suggesting how Trimpin might make his art more satisfying. It is, at best, a murky place for a critic to go. And even at the risk of seeming like I am copping out, I won't go there. I can't image that Trimpin, or you, would like anyone meddling in your creative process: It's yours, no critic should edit it.

As for your second question: Tough one, Chris. From Alexander Calder to Mark di Suvero and Richard Serra, many an artist has stepped off the pedestal, removing some of the age-old boundaries that have separated art from life. Di Suvero's monumentally scaled sculptures could not be exhibited in traditional museums or gallery settings and thus, by default almost, broke away from the ivory art tower. And that's not to mention his use of materials—usually industrial beams welded or bolted together—that were nontraditional to the extent that they exploded notions of what could and could not be considered high art.

So in some ways I think, yes, Trimpin's work falls well within this category. There is, after all, no pedestal to speak of. And the materials he incorporates are nontraditional, so too is the scale of the work. But Trimpin's place in 20th-century sculpture is yet to be determined.

I certainly don't know whether to call this work sculpture or call it large-scale instrument construction. As instrument, it works for me. As sculpture, I'm not so sure.

In describing his work, I've found Trimpin more often addresses the sounds they make, than he talks about formal sculptural aspects of the work. With installations like the six-story-high microtonal xylophone he wove around a spiral staircase in an Amsterdam theater, or the installation in which drops of water dripped into glass receptacles in complex rhythms, his installations lend to these sorts of discussions. The sound is the most important part for Trimpin. The sculpture (i.e. the form that this work takes) is a slave to that sound. So, as sculpture, I don't know where to fit his work in.

All this is certainly not to say that I wish to read like some elitist Clement Greenburg–like critic. I do not intend to set up a sharp dichotomy between what a sculptor or a "sound artist" does and what Trimpin does. Greenberg did this with the 1930s American painting scene, which he called a provincial, kitsch, and narrow art, and what he saw that was happening in Europe, which he called a "more advanced" art. Really, I'm not being Greenberg-esque. Trimpin's work is artful and bold and inventive and creative. I don't deny that. I'm just not sure it is any more sculptural than an intricately contorted trombone.

On the other hand, I will offer my observations on the core of your argument, which I would like to go through piece by piece, or solenoid by solenoid if you prefer.

If I can paraphrase, your point seems to be this: Trimpin's "sculptural contraptions" bridge some sort of a high-tech art gap because his work doesn't appear overly technical. Its aesthetics are accessible. But underneath it all, the work is highly complex and, with time and patience, as well as some brainpower, that complexity will shine through. And, you might say, I don't get it because I'm like most art audiences in the US. I want my art to be immediately gratifying.

Not so, Chris. I do believe that Trimpin's work creates a meditative environment that invites us to stay and wait and listen. The problem is that when I stay and wait and listen, nothing comes. I don't really want to get down to semantics, but, in a word you said it all: Trimpin's "contraptions" (a word interchangeable with gadgets). Even you aren't calling these things art.

Nevertheless, I wondered if you were right. Maybe Trimpin is creating some new technology about which I am unaware. Your knowledge of music and sound is far richer than mine. And so maybe I am missing it. Maybe, even though I wait and listen, I can't hear it or see it because I am don't have the technological know-how to appreciate Trimpin's work.

But then, I thought about your analogy of Trimpin being akin to Man Ray. But because Man Ray received assignments from several prominent magazines (including Vogue), due to his use of cutting-edge techniques like solarization (which is basically the overexposure of a photograph) and rayography, I don't think this is the best analogy. Man Ray's techniques have long been understood as groundbreaking. The masses, not people with a Master's in photography, could see that.

And yet, it seems with Trimpin's work that's exactly what you are arguing. Though you don't say it Chris, there's an inference that you get Trimpin because you understand/appreciate some obscure technology like the Winbond ISD2560 ChipCorder, as if to say that Trimpin's genius lies in the way he is using this technology. Likely, this is precisely where his genius lies.

But that's not where art lies. Art gets beyond its complex technologies and has an affect. Art doesn't lie in the creation of contraptions. And people didn't love Man Ray's work because of its technological accomplishments. They loved it because of the way it looked.

Take the DXARTS department at the UW. They create really complex work that also sometimes appears to be simple. Shawn Brixey's Altamira is a pair of sunglasses that trigger phosphenes, the bursts of light you see when you close your eyes tightly. The science behind this is no small thing—no manmade thing has ever been known to set off phosphenes other than closing your eyes tightly or pushing on them. But the grace in Brixey's work is certainly not in the technology. It's in the feeling it creates. Just the idea that your eyes will see something that they have never seen without physical contact is overwhelming and raw.

With Trimpin's work, I have no such experience. I am, as I have said before, wowed by the complexity of the sculptures but not moved by them.

Chris, I have some questions for you: What does Trimpin's work do for you emotionally and physically, not intellectually?

Also, I'm presuming you buy into the idea of a category of art called "sound art." Going back to how you initially described Trimpin's work, as compellingly uniting sound and sculpture, I'd like to ask you two things that are very much related. First, do you consider Trimpin's work "sound art"? And second, if you do, do you think that the artists we call "sound artists" can simply attach sound to a sculpture and then call it "sound art?"

How should a sound artist be considered different from an experimental musician like Brian Eno, and on what level? While it's safe to say that sound art often has listening as its subject—it draws attention to the act of listening and to aurality— how is that experience made manifest? Do the visual and the audible have to be considered equal in the artist's mind, as is the case in Christian Marclay's work, in order for art to be considered "sound art"? Or, can the audio be subordinate to the visual, a scenario employed frequently in Harrell Fletcher's videos? What is to be made of the simple fact that nearly all sound installations have a visual component, even if it is not always constructed and/or intended by the artist? Can there be a piece of sound art that does not have an accompanying visual component? Like Neuhaus's Times Square, which is, as I said, an invisible sound installation that sits on an unmarked block at the north end of a pedestrian island between 45th and 46th streets in Manhattan. Standing over it, a rich harmonic sound texture emerges from a large underground vault covered by a grate beneath your feet. Around you, the visual chaos of Times Square does not disappear. What role do these images play? How do they affect our hearing? How do the images we see inform Neuhaus's constructed soundscape?

Chris to Carrie:

Well Carrie, I haven't called Trimpin's contraptions "art" because it's just so clear to me they are art.

As I've written before, my favorite piece of his, Pffft, explodes the constituent parts of an organ into a large room. Painted in robust primary colors, the ranks of pipes, smaller reeds demoted to ducky quacks, and subwoofer-sized cylinders hover, squat, and sit suspended for us to see the front, back, and underside of what formerly stood in close, regimented, ranks. Along with liberating reeds and pipes with pure, open space, Trimpin liberates the sound, too. By testing and twisting two rotary dials—not keys—Trimpin metaphorically shows anyone, anyone who walks through the door, the ladder up to the exalted organ loft. Sounds can be triggered hither and yon above and below. And lest anyone think Trimpin has made a mere toy, his pre-programmed compositions—urgent, propulsive pieces that merit a much more careful consideration that I can give them here—offer an example of what can be done, supplying evidence that this sculpture is also a true musical instrument.

But to answer your question, Trimpin's best pieces go beyond the complex (and sometimes numbingly simple) use of technology and delight me, make me smile, flood me with wonder, and most importantly, impel me to listen and look anew at what I would otherwise ignore. Which for me, is what art must do.

Now, as for your questions about sound art. In the latest issue of The Iowa Review Web (, Douglas Kahn, author of Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts complained that "artists started to use 'sound art' in this way during the 1980s, although there were plenty of artists doing similar things with sound earlier and not necessarily calling what they did sound art."

Labels arise, propagate, and persist for a reason; usually "sound art" is a catchall category used by gallery curators, music writers, and artists who do not wish to grapple with music history or who believe the work(s) in question stands outside of our musical past (think Bach, Beethoven, the Beatles, Boulez, and the Burundi Drummers).

Curators like the term because "music" feels old, broad, and intimidating. "Sound art" bares few fangs, and in a society that is aesthetically illiterate and slavishly accepts oxymorons like "alternative rock," stirs up fewer expectations. Where mystery abides so do new audiences...

Some artists use the term because they want nothing to do with an old (and probably dead) fogy like Beethoven, or find pop music (rock, hiphop, indie rock, etc.) commercial and disgusting, or hope to, as Stravinsky said of electronic music, "win their spurs in new territory." I wonder if the term is a futile attempt to control how people perceive new or still-challenging work; standing over Neuhaus's recently reinstalled Times Square, who knows how many people close their eyes?

As an aside: On the soundasart list, researcher Cory P. Mathews recently posted the following: "With the early works, Neuhaus admits that he thought what he was doing was music. Drive-in Music (1967/8) was a 'sound oriented piece for a situation other than the concert hall.' He called it a 'sound environment.' If you look at the sources for the early works (Fan Music, Southwest Stairwell, Water Whistle, etc.), he uses the terms 'music' and 'concert' instead of 'work' and 'installation.' At that time 'sound installation' was not part of his vocabulary, although 'installation' may have been. The ideas were there, just not the terminology. As far as I have been able to find, Neuhaus didn't coin the term 'sound installation' until 1972/3, around the time of Walkthrough. But even then, one source quotes Neuhaus as referring to Walkthrough as a 'sound sculpture' (not as an object that makes sound, but as sounds that define a spatial object). Even after 'sound installation' became part of his vocabulary, his ideas about it gradually evolved. He often uses the term 'music' in conjunction with 'sound installation.' 'Music' was the sound of the 'installation.' Its 'performance' was the time the 'music' was sounding, even though his pieces always ran continuously for long periods of time. Again, all the ideas were there, but Neuhaus was still developing the terminology and refining his explanations. In the late '70s and early '80s his ideas became more sophisticated, and he purposely avoided the term 'music' altogether. Today, he doesn't even use the term 'sound installation'…"

In common usage, sound art may be purely sonic, with the artist offering little or nothing for the other senses except for the barest of texts (e.g. a title, date, and production credits).

Yet I have heard a derisive "that's not music" applied to too much new work that will clearly be heard as music decades hence, so I prefer to apply "sound art" to art that intentionally includes a sonic component that may be substantial or insignificant or somewhere in between.

Pieces that imply sound, such as Marclay's Drumkit (1999), which elevates a drumkit's cymbal stands, toms, and snare drum above practical usage for all but the young NBA-bound drummer, or Liplock (2000), which rams the mouthpiece of a pocket trumpet into the mouthpiece of a baritone horn are sculpture, not sound art. But physical pieces that modify or mute sound—in his recent Seattle lecture, Kahn alluded to several artists working with anechoic chambers—are certainly sound art.

So yes, Trimpin's work is sound art. As for Eno, he's a composer, and as the creator of installations, a sound artist. Sound artists can simply attach sound to a sculpture (or a piece of paper, a glass of water) and call it sound art, though to succeed, the sonic attachment sound must be also be effective and essential to the work. A stroll through a power station could also be called "sound art" (as in the 1966 work Listen), though the now-established "soundwalk" is more exact.

I suspect the definition of "sound art" as with "music" will remain a moving target. Would Beethoven have heard music in Merzbow? I prefer to define music as a way of listening, an active attention that at once hunts for the drama, timbre, and texture shaped by sound and silence, while understanding what has happened and ascertaining what may happen as a meaningful whole.