Non-Euclidean Art Project

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Objective: Create an artwork based on spherical geometry, polyhedra, or hyperbolic geometry.

Use techniques from this course, or research some other method to create an artwork involving non-Euclidean geometry. A spherical geometry project would likely involve working on the surface of a sphere. Polyhedra are models of the sphere, but with flat faces, and can have appealing symmetry. Hyperbolic geometry projects could use the Poincare disk model, or construct a three dimensional model of hyperbolic space.

Art Component

The art project will involve some mathematical planning and understanding, and some artistic skill. Generally, a project with more complicated mathematics will require less artistic talents, and vice-versa, but an excellent project will feature both.

You are allowed to create any artwork that involves non-Euclidean geometry in an integral fashion, but there are a few clear ways to accomplish the goals of this project:

Tessellation

Design a tessellation by recognizable figures on a sphere, polyhedron, or in hyperbolic space. Techniques from the Tessellation Art Project are still applicable, but require careful thinking about symmetry to realize on a non-flat surface. Tesselating a polyhedron has the advantage that you can execute the design flat and then fold or build the 3D model.

This sort of project generally has a high mathematical content, unless you choose one of the simpler polyhedra such as a cube, tetrahedron, or octahedron. An entirely geometric tessellation is acceptable, but would require a higher degree of craftsmanship.

Polyhedron Construction

Choose a polyhedron and construct it out of some interesting materials or using challenging techniques. Your construction should be sturdy and symmetric.

Some techniques:

For still more ideas, browse George Hart's Pavilion of Polyhedreality, or the more current blog by his daughter Vi Hart.

Hyperbolic Model

Make a model of hyperbolic space. Here are a few ways to create hyperbolic models:

Written Component

Full

Write a paper about the geometry you selected for your artwork, either spherical or hyperbolic.

The paper should be a minimum of 3 pages, typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins. Figures are excluded from the page count.

  • Explain how this geometry is different from Euclidean geometry. How are the axioms different? What polygons exist? Which ones do not exist?
  • What do we know about the theory of tessellations in this geometry? How many regular tessellations are there? Do you think all triangles tessellate? Do all quadrilaterals tessellate?
  • What do the isometries of this geometry look like?

Partial

Create some basic documentation about your project (on a separate piece of paper), as if this was the information placard next to your work in a museum.

Include:

  • Your name
  • The title of the artwork
  • The materials you used to make the artwork (media, type of paper, …)
  • A short discussion of how you constructed it
  • Anything else about the work that needs explaining, such as the theme, meaning, source of inspiration.

More Information

Handin:

The finished work. The written component. Any preliminary work you have done (as evidence of effort).