Representation and Abstraction

Representation and Abstraction, School of CEM, February 27th – March 2nd, 2018.

An exhibition of work from my developing artist’s ethnography of communication in research mathematics, a creative project exploring the interpersonal, material and situated aspects of mathematical work. This exhibition also showcases the culmination of a short project bringing undergraduates in fine art and in mathematics together, presenting a record of the encounter and their conversations. Featuring Tasneem Arif, Barney Brock, Rachel Brooks, Lucy Papadopoulos, Jacob Talkowski and Stephanie Tsoukala

Rachel Brooks and Lucy Papadopoulos

The Schrödinger equation, acetate, frame, fishing wire

The Schrödinger equation is a differential equation that governs the behaviour of wave functions in quantum mechanics. This piece focuses on the time-dependent Schrodinger equation which describes how the wave function evolves over time. As a collaboration of two students from the separate disciplines of art and maths, we wanted to symbolise the multiple levels of meaning that the mathematical language can embody from differing angles and backgrounds of knowledge.

Jacob Talkowski and Stephanie Tsoukala

Prime Optics, acrylic, chrome spray, fluorescent sticker 

Upon discussion of our interests, we discovered shared research into density. Jacob works with colour and its optical density, whilst Stephanie approaches prime numbers and their distribution density. Using fluorescence and chrome, we use visual layering to illustrate the mathematical concept through the physical conditions of shadow and depth. Where our sculptural object approaches abstraction, our drawings function with an appropriate accuracy—we invite you to move and shift the small acetate sheets in your own hands.

Tasneem Arif and Barney Brock

Constructed Motion, timber, Sand, Sandpaper 

At a glance, mathematics—with its equations and theorems—seems concrete in its structure. However, the idea of fluidity is relevant to the wider context of the subject. Written down, mathematics is but an instantaneous realisation of the relationship between logic and the physical world. Equations and conceptual structures are taken from this set of relationships. Combined with traditional sculptural techniques, Constructed Motion aims to visually depict the amalgamation of rigid structure and ambiguous fluidity which seems ever present in both artistic and mathematic ways of thinking.

Together, we have crafted two planes of function, embodied by the wooden frames. The rigidity of structure expresses the concrete materiality of our fields of work, while the physically impressionable sand alludes to a more fluid, ambiguous nature of the mathematical and artistic process. The contrast between these two essential components denotes how seemingly opposite approaches in mathematics and art are all connected.