Annual conference celebrates close ties between mathematics and art
GRAND an event sponsor at Bridges 2013 in Enschede, The Netherlands – the largest international conference on mathematical art.
Posted by GRAND NCE, August 13, 2013

Intrude: a digital print by Tiffany C. Inglis (Waterloo) exhibited at Bridges Enschede 2013.
Intrude: a digital print by Tiffany C. Inglis (Waterloo) exhibited at Bridges Enschede 2013.

(Vancouver) Bridges is the world's largest annual conference on connections between art and mathematics. At the 16th annual Bridges 2013, held in Enschede, The Netherlands (July 27-31), GRAND, in cooperation with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada, sponsored a special event on opening night to showcase Canada-Dutch cooperation in mathematical art.

GRAND researcher and Bridges organizer Dr. Craig Kaplan (University of Waterloo) was the MC for the event. A computer graphics expert, Kaplan is also a specialist on the works of Dutch artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972). Escher’s correspondence with Canadian mathematician Donald Coxeter (1907-2003) represents both a strong historical tie between the two countries, and a critical milestone in the history of mathematical art. 

Drawing from a virtual treasure trove of possible examples to highlight Canadian-Dutch connections, Kaplan and other organizers decided on the shared interests of event participants Jack van Wijk (Eindhoven University of Technology) and David Swart from GRAND industry partner Christie Digital (Kitchener-Waterloo).

Van Wijk, a prominent researcher in data visualization, has developed new techniques for flattening the globe while minimizing distortion and preserving important geographic features.  Swart, whose work at Christie focuses on the mathematics of projection, maintains a side interest in novel flat representations of the viewable sphere. Together, they entertained and enlightened the audience with presentations on the mathematical, computational, and artistic challenges that emerge in rendering spherical information onto a planar canvas.

Also exhibited at Bridges 2013 were the works of talented University of Waterloo artist and computer science PhD student Tiffany C. Inglis (supervised by Kaplan). Kaplan and Inglis presented their joint work on animating line-based Op Art and Kaplan presented his explorations of grid-based decorative corners.