Adam Colestock

4th-8th Grade STEAM and Coding Teacher
Francis W. Parker School

I am drawn to patterns and structures. I find beauty in the ethereal realm of abstract mathematical ideas and in the material forms produced in nature as clever or elegant solutions to design and engineering problems. I am interested in how computation provides new tools for both the exploration of mathematics and the creation of art. I enjoy deepening my understanding of mathematics by constructing or coding ways to embody math in objects or images. Or conversely, I also enjoy building on an aesthetic attraction I experience when presented with a form by unpacking the mathematics within. I seek a balance between choices that I make, elements that are dictated by the mathematics, and a dash of randomness. And I am fascinated by robots.

Turtles Dance for Seymour Papert
Turtles Dance for Seymour Papert
60 x 90 cm
Digital Print

This image is constructed using turtle geometry. The ‘turtle’ draws a line as takes a step and then turns by an angle determined by a discrete parametric function with parameters A and B: f(n)= n mod A - n mod B. As n goes from 1 to infinity (only taking on natural number values), this function produces a periodic sequence of integers that result in the turtle usually returning to the starting location.

Seymour Papert (1928-2016) was instrumental in the development of turtle geometry as a powerful tool for exploring mathematics. He passed away last year and I was inspired to incorporate his visage into the piece while watching a daylong tribute to him called “Thinking about Thinking about Seymour” that MIT live-streamed in January 2017.