On a Hole

The language around holes is a flexible one. To be considered a hole, must the opening fully pass through its host? From a topological perspective, a donut and a coffee mug are considered structurally the same, with both having only one hole. While engineers, on the other hand, recognize indentations, such as “blind” holes.

Holes are relational, referential objects. Their size, beginning, and end are dependent on the host material that surrounds them. While a hole is considered nothing, an absence, it is referred to in a physical way- for example, this shirt has a hole in it.

If the host material reveals only the visible, tactile dimensions of the hole (the area where the host and hole intersect), then can the shape of the hole beyond the intersection be open to interpretation? Can a hole continue past the “evidence” that we perceive in the host material? Can a substance riddled with holes, really just be one continuous, meandering (w)hole?

This flickering plasticity between physical and non-physical tangibility appears to seamlessly coexist in a cartoon universe. The portable hole, sometimes seen as a thin, rubberlike sheet and in other instances as a dispensable liquid, can be applied to any surface (even air, as seen in this Bugs Bunny animation) to open up a portal in space. Sometimes the holes make no sound when stuck to their host, while on other occasions they produce a distinct floppy thump, indicating once again, the variably physical nature of this phenomenon.

The portable hole, the absolute workaround, was made popular by the ultimate scrapper, Wile E. Coyote. When failure descends, Coyote is back at it again a few frames later with another ramshackle contraption up his proverbial sleeve. A true survivalist- never deterred, never defeated.

*Created not long after the deployment of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “The Hole Idea”, portrays the “double-edged sword” of scientific research.

**Judging by the sound, the holes’ consistency before drying ranges from non-viscous liquid to that resembling pancake batter.
to impurities and (moving) holes
P-type semiconductor: Doping crystalline germanium with an acceptor impurity, gallium, results in an electron deficiency, causing a moving “hole”.
structural anomaly
soap film
The Road Runner Show
the early 1950s is credited with showcasing its wide-reaching potential to television audiences*. The main character, Professor Calvin Q. Calculus, invents portable hole technology which is dispensed from a syringe**. Professor Calculus’ holes are able to penetrate all kinds of surfaces: steel safes, brick walls, glass windows, mountains, and the earth’s crust. Holes can be picked up, slid, thrown, and folded. In this universe, portable holes agree with physical laws of nature, and all is in balance.
arguably made the portable hole a recognizable cartoon trope, "The Hole Idea”, a Warner Brothers animation from