Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson

Scientific Officer
School of Computer Science, University of St. Andrews

The advent of accessible automated tools — CNC-controlled mills, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, 3d printers, et.c. — that through the Maker movement reaches commodity prices opens up a number of new approaches to art: especially algorithmic and mathematical art works. The computational control allows us to write algorithms to generate concrete physical art; and their precision allows a higher resolution than what the eye can discern.

In particular, I have worked for a wild and creative month with laser cutters — through TechShop:SF I was able to get a month's worth of tool access in early 2011. During this time, I produced a number of pieces highlighting and reifying different mathematical concepts, giving them physical presence and accessibility and turning abstract geometry into hands-on displays and objects.

Hyperbolic Coasters
14 items, 12cm diameter each
Laser-etched glass

Among the most successful of the reified mathematics art-pieces I produced where these — hyperbolic disk tilings with the Poincare disk model were etched onto glass disks, producing a collection of reified hyperbolic geometries and symmetries.

Thanks to Ravi Vakil (Stanford) who lends six of the disks on display to the exhibition.