Mathematical Artists

Translating Between Space and Time

Last update: February 7, 2020

Xavier Bou: Photography

If an ordinary photograph represents the flight of birds at one instant of time, Xavier Bou's ornithographies are Riemann sums approximating the integral of motion. Temporal patterns—the flapping of wings, the movement of a flock—become spatial.

John Edmark: Sculpture

The blooms of John Edmark are 3D-printed zoetropes. When spun on a turntable and illuminated by a strobe light, each bloom comes alive. These pieces exploit patterns, based on logarithmic spirals, that change slightly in scale, position, and/or shape under rotation through a fixed angle.

Li Hongbo: Sculpture

Li Hongbo creates sculptures from blocks of accordion-laminated paper. Each can be pulled into fantastical shapes and returned to its original form, in playful illustration of Cavalieri's principle from integral calculus.

Anthony Howe: Sculpture

Anthony Howe fashions lawn-sized, wind-driven kinetic sculptures that move hypnotically through a circle in an abstract configuration space.

Reuben Margolin: Sculpture

Reuben Margolin creates mechanical representations of function graphs and other kinetic sculptures.

Michael Molin: Musical mechanism

Michael Molin's Wintergatan marble machine is an upright piano-sized steampunk instrument that converts space (positions of pegs on wheels) into time (rhythms of notes).

Markus Reugels: High-Speed Photographs

Markus Reugels photographs liquids, thin films, ballistics and other fluid-like phenomena with a high-speed strobe. In spirit and technique, Reugels' work builds on the pioneering high-speed photography of Harold Edgerton.

Daniel Rozin

Daniel Rozin makes “mirrors” whose pixels are arrays of physical objects that can be manipulated mechanically, yielding two (or more) visually-contrasting states. A camera records a pixelated image of the viewer standing in front of the work and reproduces the pixel array mechanically, responding in real time as the viewer moves.

Unknown: Water feature

At Umeda Station in Osaka Japan is a digital water clock. A few hundred nozzles in a bar across the top are computer-controlled in the same manner as ink-jet printer nozzles. By opening and closing in synchrony, they convert temporal patters of electrical signals into spatial patterns of falling water, including digital readouts of the current time.

Kumi Yamashita: Sculpture

Kumi Yamashita creates striking shadows using carefully-positioned point light sources and precision-cut objects. Mathematically, each shadow is a plane curve that, together with the point light source, defines a (generalized) cone. A suitable plane section of this cone (or more complex solid object cut off by the cone) casts the desired shadow.

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