Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine

Professor and Artist-in-Residence
Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

We explore many mediums, from sculpture (particularly paper folding and glass blowing) to performance art, video, and magic. Our artwork explores connections to mathematics, with the goal of inspiring, understanding, and ideally solving mathematical open problems.

Gentle Earthquake
Gentle Earthquake
17" x 15" x 12"
Mi-Teintes watercolor paper

The sculpture is a modular combination of nine interacting pieces. Each piece is folded by hand from a circle of paper, using a compass to score the creases and cut out a central hole. This transformation of flat paper into swirling surfaces creates sculpture that feels alive. Paper folds itself into a natural equilibrium form depending on its creases. These equilibria are poorly understood, especially for curved creases. We are exploring what shapes are possible in this genre of self-folding origami, with applications to deployable structures, manufacturing, and self-assembly.