Alison Grace Martin, artist (right), working on "Around a Torus" with students Quoc-Thinh Truong and Natalie Kratts.

Alison Grace Martin, artist (right), working on “Around a Torus” with students Quoc-Thinh Truong and Natalie Kratts.

At 11:30 AM on Friday I suddenly realized that time was running out to see the art show, which closed at noon. I could have spent quite a while there but had to be content with a targeted strike. First, I stopped to talk to Alison Grace Martin and Quoc-Thinh Truong, who were working hard on a very striking wood-strip sculpture of a torus. Martin traveled from Italy to create the collaborative sculpture at the JMM after her proposal was chosen from a field of submissions. Conference participants had been helping out with with the project all week. The first step was making ten-, twelve-, and fourteen-pointed stars out of wood strips. These stars were then assembled to create the torus. The positive curvature portions were assembled out of the ten- and twelve pointed stars (similar to a soccer ball’s hexagon/pentagon tiling), while the negative curvature on the inside of the torus was obtained by incorporating the fourteen-pointed stars (which could be correspondingly thought of as heptagons). Truong, a Junior double major in math and physics at Lenoir-Rhyne University, had put in a lot of time on the project.

A lot of the art on display was pretty impressive. Most of the artists were not present, so I was unfortunately not able to get permission to photograph their work, but I did find a link to some great shots.  However, I felt is was probably okay to take pictures of some people enjoying “Tessercraft”, created by Ben Signa, a student at San Francisco State University, since the photos don’t actually show the art. “Tessercraft” is a sort of virtual reality trip through the 3-d representations of 4-d shapes. A person wearing the headset can look in all directions and use a joystick to move around in a world of geometry. I couldn’t really explore the whole world because “walking” around in the world, especially climbing on and falling off of the Minecraft-like bricks, made me feel really disoriented and almost carsick. But it was awesome. Celes Woodruff, an Assistant Professor at James Madison University, was enjoying the headset, when her colleague Assistant Professor Cassie Williams took a picture and said, “This is going on the department webpage!“

“It’s worth it,” Woodruff said.

Celes Woodruff and Colin Weir enjoying "Tesseract", a creation of Ben Signa.

Celes Woodruff and Colin Weir enjoying “Tesseract”, a creation of Ben Signa.

More enjoying of "Tessercraft".

More “Tessercraft” fun.

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