Where art meets math

Between the Folds-film about origami
Photo courtesy of Green Fuse Films

I’ve posted before about the intersection of art and math, as well as a link to this cool mandelbrot video. The other night Netflix offered me a math video! (Their algorithm is pretty amazing. They’ve been getting better and better at choosing the kinds of weird, quirky, non-mainstream films I like.)

This is a film about folders—people who do the kind of origami that will astound you. And they link it to higher mathematics, which also will astound you. At least, it amazed me.

Between the Folds

Art and maths

Addendum: Someone recently contact me to ask about this video, and I realized that I hadn’t attributed it! Shame on me. So I went looking, and all I could find was that it was posted by someone named Aelithou. Unfortunately, his website is parked, so I can’t tell you any more about him. Aelithou, could you please raise your hand?

Back on the art and math problem, I found a story about Carla Farsi, an artist and a mathematician. She created a course at the University of Colorado in Boulder for non-math students, using visual arts to teach math. I would love to have taken that course. Math has always been a nightmare for me, but 9 years with my own personal mathematician, who has impeccable taste in materials for thought, has made me see that math could be a beautiful discipline, if one could only understand it.

And I think the divide between art and math wasn’t always so great. Certainly during the renaissance, artists were trying to figure out arty things like perspective by using mathematics.

I know, art is supposed to be about feeling and emotion, but I wonder if we’ve let so much of our own personal feelings and emotions creep into our personal art that much of it has become opaque to other people. Math is about communicating ideas, about solving problems. Really, is art so very different?