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A fairy dance takes over Kuunsilta: student art exhibition opened at the Espoo Cultural Centre

The exhibition was inspired by the students' own experiences and relationship with the environment, and adapted to fit into the Cultural Centre.
Crystal Garden. Kuva: Kalle Kataila.
The Crystal Garden. Image: Kalle Kataila.

Teams of Aalto University students have produced an art exhibition for the Espoo Cultural Centre, Kuunsilta (Moon bridge). The multidisciplinary teams present their interpretations of the phenomena of low-dimensional geometry and topology.

The älvdans on the moon bridge was designed by interior architecture student Yi-Chiao Tien, bioinformation technology student Jannica Savander, arts and business student Alisa Kurganova and design student Tomi Hyyppä. They were familiar with the cultural centre’s architecture and wanted to construct their work in the empty space of the staircase.

‘The work was inspired by misty fields at dawn. In Swedish, this natural phenomenon is called älvdans, fairy dance. Fairy dance is a natural, visual work of art in an empty space through which air flows from one floor to another’, says Jannica Savander.

Mathematics is present in the fairy piece through minimal surface geometry. Stretched along its sides, fabric settles in a rest mode in which its surface is evenly curved.

‘There are mathematical formulas and origamis everywhere, and each of them can be analysed and explained. Mathematical lessons such as this course are very inspiring’, says Yi-Chiao Tien.

The garden city of Tapiola and the high-ceilinged location on the top floor of the Cultural Centre that resembles a lighthouse laid the foundation for Crystal garden. It was designed and implemented by design student Iiro Törmä, mathematician Saara Vestola and graphic artist Punit Hiremath.

‘We paid attention to natural light, which varies greatly throughout the day’, says Iiro Törmä.

The flower petals of Crystal garden repeat the same polygon folded into different shapes.

‘The course approaches the phenomena of modern mathematics using visual tools, and you can manage with any level of prior mathematical knowledge.  The course participants' relationship with mathematics varied greatly, and we discussed the dialogue between mathematics and creativity a great deal’, says Törmä.

‘Mathematics is everywhere, and a fearless attitude to it is at the centre of all learning. The visual methods of art provide an excellent point of contact with the essential elements of mathematical research’, states Kirsi Peltonen, teacher in charge of the course.

The works were produced as part of the course “Crystal flowers in halls of mirrors: Mathematics meets art and architecture.”

The exhibition has been implemented in cooperation with EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.  Admission to the exhibition is free, and it is open during the Cultural Centre’s opening hours from 22 May to 31 August (Kulttuuriaukio 2, 02100 Espoo).

Further information:

Kirsi Peltonen
Senior University Lecturer
Aalto University
tel. +358 50 574 7006

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