Wonder

The newly renovated Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC is a perfect place to start off 2016 by seeing the exhibit Wonder. The exhibit features nine artists’ installations that give the visitor a sense of wonder. I absolutely loved walking through the beautifully restored building to observe thoughtful pieces created with care and precision. Through the exhibit I kept rerunning the Project Zero Thinking Routine I see… I think… I wonder….. 

Through the various rooms there are quotations about wonder. One that I found thought provoking “It is not understanding that destroys wonder, it is familiarity”  John Stuart Mill, 1865.

The symmetry in Jennifer Angus’s installation of unaltered insects was fascinating, playful and made your skin crawl a little while taking in the details and features of the insects.

The Gabriel Dawe installation of Plexus A1 is just breath taking. I would love to see if I could do a lesson on vectors and intersecting planes for the color refractions he creates through the use of string. If any of you math educators have ideas on this type of lesson please share 🙂 I will see what I can come up this semester.

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At the risk of being to familiar with the art piece, I played around with Geogebra‘s 3D modeling to construct the basic shape and see of the intersecting thread. Figure 1 is the first model with the lines on the floor perpendicular to the lines on the ceiling. The figures are not to scale.

Figure 1

After looking at the photos again I notice that the lines on the ceiling were more angled. The angles are shown in Figure 2. I am interested to know how the Dawe planned the strings line of the intersection. Also, how can you mathematical maximize the intersection string line? When thinking of this from color theory point of view, you can also look at each intersection points of the individuals lines as color mixtures.

Figure 2

I wonder how the tightness of the string effects the intersection of the planes, also how to describe the planes mathematically? In a way it reminds me of the mathematical models that May Ray used in his Human Equations exhibit at the Philips Collection last spring.

If you have an idea or insight on this installation please share. It definitely brings out a lot of wonder even as I become more familiar with the problem.

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