June 28, 2011

Almost a Klein Bottle

The Vessel, by Ilan Sandler, stands near the corner of a small park in Toronto. From some angles, with its hollow handle, the sculpture looks like a wire-frame model of the standard representation of a Klein bottle. You can almost imagine the inside connecting with the outside as the handle curves into the body of the giant pitcher.

The sculpture, which was officially unveiled earlier this month as the centerpiece of a fountain, was constructed from 4 kilometers of stainless steel rod. This length roughly matches the distance that the now-buried Taddle Creek once ran from Taddle Creek Park through downtown Toronto to Lake Ontario.

"The sculpture's surface is porous, allowing one to see light slicing through the stainless steel rods which create its volume," Sandler notes. "Water flows from the top of the rim of the vessel over its surface and then cascades onto the ground plane, creating sound that drowns out the noise of traffic."

Photos by I. Peterson

June 27, 2011

Borromean Triangles

Intuition, by sculptor John Robinson, consists of three, interwoven equilateral triangles presented in a symmetrical arrangement. Immersed in greenery, the four-foot, stainless-steel sculpture sits near the entrance to the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences at 222 College Street in Toronto.

Robinson's construction is an angular version of the famous Borromean rings. Three rings are linked together in such a way that removing any one ring leaves the other two unattached.

"For me this sculpture represents a knotted core of stability within the centre of knowledge," Robinson remarked, "from which comes sparks of originality and invention, often for no apparent reason."

The sculpture was presented to the Fields Institute in 1997 in recognition of the 90th birthday of geometer H.S.M. (Donald) Coxeter.

Photos by I. Peterson