This week, I’d like to start out by sharing the sketches I made for my studio series utilizing images from Mark’s research.
I look forward to getting started on studies for the large pieces, and working with paper for the origami inspired pieces.
In keeping with the theme of origami, we will create a piece inspired by the Local Sheet, the local cluster of galaxies including the Milky Way. Here is a folded-paper piece by Mark on display at Johns Hopkins University physics department. It was made using data from the VIPERS (VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey) project.
Visualizations from the survey show the distribution of galaxies of a universe about half as old as our present, which Mark and his research group translated into a schematic for origami folding after identifying major structures like nodes and filaments. I'm ready to do some research into the best papers for folding and backlighting.
Below is an incredible 3D fly through of a data plot from VIPERS in which you can clearly see the structure and how it resembles a web, net, or soap bubbles!
Some more images I will use as inspiration for studio pieces on paper, either as drawings or prints...
I think I’d like to use a method of printmaking that exposes an image onto a polymer plate using sunlight, the light of our nearest star!
Mark's update this week tells of what seems like a great meeting with some folks from the Paper Studio Northumbria. There, Prof. Chris Dorsett is interested in the intersection of images from Tantric meditation and imagery from dark matter simulations. Reading some background articles provided by Prof. Dorsett, I’m inspired to identify some patterns from Tantra to use as templates for simulations, and also in looking at the existing simulations to reveal metaphorical inspirations relating to musings from Tantric philosophy, such as spiritual depictions or conceptions of the Cosmic Web. I look forward to talking with Mark this week about their chat!
On Friday, I visited the Paper Studio Northumbria, a space for paper working and research at Northumbria University,This sparked me to think a lot over the weekend; I wrote enough here to separate it out into sections below.
I met with three fine art professors there: Fiona Crisp, Sian Bowen, and Chris Dorsett. We're planning to do some kind of presentation/"performance"/talk in the space there, maybe with some communal folding of paper, perhaps a design related to the "Council of Giants": several galaxies around and including the Milky Way and our nearest neighbor, Andromeda. For a video with some super-dramatic music about this "council", see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzL7xGzfNlU. The reason for using this would be, first, that it includes the Milky Way, and second, the practical issue that it is a nearly two-dimensional arrangement of galaxies, rendered not horribly with two-dimensional paper. It should be quite interesting to give a "talk" there much different than a usual science talk, although the word "performance" is intimidating. :)
They questioned some things that I don't usual think about, such as "what do the boundaries mean" in one of my origami works based on galaxy distributions? In cosmology/cosmography, the boundaries are simply the limits of what a particular galaxy survey has mapped (outside of them, the pattern is assumed to look similar). But in other cultural contexts, they can have meanings I never dreamed of. Chris Dorsett showed some yantras used in tantric meditation, for instance:
I'm sure I barely understand, but the outer boundaries there are the boundaries of the self, and the inner, fractal reflections inside are meant to represent and provoke the personal reflection that occurs in meditation.
These remind me of the patterns produced in some of the simulations I recently ran (see Week 7, http://www.sciartcenter.org/group-2-mark--lizzy/mark-lizzy-week-7 for more info, and what it folds up into)
This shows a "crease pattern" for stretching and folding up a 2D arrangement of nodes -- the creases would form at the borders between pink and blue regions. Confusingly, this 2D sheet can't actually be stretched and folded up in our humble 3D, without crossing through other layers. It requires 4 dimensions to fully fold without layers crossing.
Fascinatingly, the shapes produced inside the nodes come from the influence of the other nodes around them -- they would be entirely circular in isolation. As the simulation progresses further and further, the nodes even connect to each other. There must be a nice metaphor in there somewhere!
This even made me think of the film Doctor Strange; see a mandala (I'm not sure what the difference between a mandala and a yantra is :/) There's also some 3D kaleidoscopy that happens in the film, which might end up being related to the reflections in a 3D sheet that happen in full three dimensions, e.g.
It's hard to imagine a bigger cultural appropriation than in a blockbuster Hollywood superhero movie, but I thought they did actually allow an unusual amount of creativity into the film. I'm sure what they used in the film was far from culturally/religiously accurate ... still fascinating though.
Now, somewhere I never expected this to go: dance! I read that the hand gestures used in Doctor Strange to produce the mandalas were designed by "finger tutter" JayFunk, here seen in a commercial. This is a mesmerizing art form that uses geometric transformations of rotation, translation, and maybe reflection? This is a rare, undisputably cool application of mathematics!
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Lizzy Storm is an artist and owner of Lizzy Storm Designs based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mark Neyrinck is an award-winning astrophysicist and cosmologist, and a postdoctoral researcher at Durham University, United Kingdom.