Mathematical Art

Edited by: Roberta De Monte

Art works: Marco Mahler

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3D printing is a very recent technology, whose capabilities and limits have not been fully explored yet. There are many artists, however, who are experimenting its potential: in fact, it allows for the creation of new compositions in a quick and intuitive manner, results that would be virtually impossible to obtain with other techniques.

This technology was chosen for the new experimentations of the kinetic sculptor Marco Mahler, who, in collaboration with the mathematician Henry Segerman (research fellow at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Melbourne), created a collection of extraordinary mobile sculptures.

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The creation of these ‘white art ghosts’ came about through mathematical equations that generated complex organic shapes. The components were then printed in 3D by Shapeways, the most important 3D printing service worldwide.

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The mobiles consist of separate loose pieces connected to each other, some of them feature a slight increase or decrease in thickness from one side to the other, something that would have not been possible with conventional handmade mobiles.

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Of all the sculptures the most complex is definitely ‘Quaternary Tree’, consisting of a total of 1365 components. All models are made from laser sintered nylon plastic, a particularly resistant material, which is not altered even when exposed to high temperatures.

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The most innovative factor, however, is the method of sale of the works: in fact, anyone can buy a mobile sculpture online on the site of the Dutch start-up Shapeways. Every user will receive in a couple of weeks the components that they can then reassemble and install at home.

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Roberta De Monte

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