Le Confident

Ideas tête-à-tête

Art & Mathematics

Just an instant ago, I wrote about the possibilities showing on the horizon, of the incorporation of Wolfram’s Mathematica into the Unity Game Engine. There are some videos to watch for interested people, but no pictures, so I want to broaden the scope a bit.

I’ve written a short story somewhere last year, where it struck me as quite a futuristic thing to describe, that architecture entered a new era of excessive ornamentation, but this time based on mathematical discoveries. Everybody who has seen some advanced geometry, topology or fractal art knows that these can be enormously beautiful. But walking around in most (European) cities, you won’t find much of these. You have some geometric primitives, lots of concrete and glass, sometimes a gadget like intelligent surfaces but the general conviction seems to point out, that architecture must above all be useful and clean.

Just to get this out straight away, I’m no fan of baroque, let alone rokoko styles. But I do feel, that narrative complexity adds to the richness of a place and yes, an ornament is itself a narrative, because it gives you enough clues to decipher over some period of time. It brings you mentally from one place to some later one.
One obvious point, for this poverty in forms, might be that they are relatively difficult to make, you need artists, time, money and the result is a matter of taste. But as it seems, ornamentation and even sculpture nowadays, is getting increasingly simple to do. You don’t need the yearlong trained artists for these things any more. Complex geometric forms, provided they’re already understood, are a matter of several minutes to compute and visualize in a computational package. As it goes, Wolfram’s environment (and others like processing as I understand) can also export them as models and there are 3D printing shops growing like mushrooms all over the place at the moment. To show you what I mean, I link to several demonstrations over at the Mathematica page. Imagine them in some public place…

Electric Field Lines – Enrique Zeleny

Electric Field Set – Enrique Zeleny

Dividing a Circle into Halfcircles – Sandor Kabai

Labyrinth Tiling – Jessica Alfonsi

I also found this quite cute idea of recording one saying “I love you” or “Happy Valentine’s Day!”, then rotating the soundwave to form a series of cylinders, and then printing it out as an  earring for the recipient of the sentence:

Waveform Earring

You can find similar jewellry here: http://www.bza.biz/

And finally here some early artworks with explanations by Paul Nylander:


nylander -LoxodromeSconce8-large

nylander Spidroball-large nylander- double spiral


Or look at this vectorization of an image, done in Mathematica: Installation in a Museum anyone?
Found on Stackexchange.


As for sculpture, I’ll just mention sites like instructibles or thingiverse, where a vast variety of little objects for domestic use are being developed and shared. You might also have heard of Pinla3D, who are supposed of printing human bodies now. Well, art will still be a matter of taste.

Now I’m waiting for crazy ornaments, shadow plays, curvy forms and scientific metaphors in the architecture of all realities, be they of whatever degree of virtuality!

If you know any artists working (except MC Escher) in this domain, let me know!


Wolfram Demonstrations

Mathematical Art Database

Stackexchange Group about Generative Art with Mathematica



Article about Pinla3D


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This entry was posted on March 22, 2014 by in Art and tagged , , , .
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