Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine
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.
Language is a common medium of mathematics and art. Creativity is core to resolving both. Mathematical open problems and recreational puzzles are both fun challenges.
This print illustrates these principles. The font is a mathematical puzzle font designed by the artists and Belen Palop (2010). The font represents an open problem posed by Manuel Abellanas (2001): can equal-radius disks in the plane always be wrapped by a taut non-self-intersecting elastic belt that would cause the disks to turn? Each letter of the font is an instance of this open problem, and has exactly one solution that is a letter. The print shows the belt for some letters but fewer and fewer. Reading the full text requires solving several puzzles and/or pattern matching. The text in turn describes a closely related open problem of how to solve these puzzles computationally.