A couple of weeks ago, I had a unique opportunity to view some of the works by artist and mathematician M.C. Escher at the National Gallery of Art. These pieces are currently not on display at the museum and our viewing was in a small group with no glass in the way.
It was a real geeky session for me and the other the math teachers in the group, even if we only got about 30 minutes. Below are a few photos of the pieces, with the rest (plus a couple of shots from elsewhere in the East building) in this gallery.
Part of the collection we were allowed to view up close and without glass. I’m sure the curators were a little nervous but no one in our group messed up anything.
A close up of a section of one of M. C. Escher’s most recognizable works, an amazingly detailed lithograph called Ascending and Descending.
Later in his career, Escher also worked in three dimensions. In this piece, he duplicates on a sphere his original two-dimensional tessellation showing angels interspersed with devils.
One of several self-portraits by Escher, this one with the artist reflected in a mirrored ball.
The mission of Hacking Arts at MIT is to “ignite entrepreneurship and innovation within the creative arts”. On one Saturday night (and way into the following Sunday), a large group of students came together to work in small groups on something that challenged their imagination. To create something new.
Spend five minutes to watch this film.
Now take that idea and expand it beyond one weekend and the creative arts.
This is a wonderful model for what K12 education could and should be. Instead of preparing for tests that don’t matter, what if students spent most of their time in school working on issues that really matter and about which they were passionate?
What if school was like a multi-year hackathon as described by the young woman at the end of the film: “That’s what hackathons are about, solving problems with your resources and the people around you.”?
There’s much to like about Stephen Cobert’s Late Show that debutedÂ last September, starting with the opening credits. The visuals are hard to describe, a video flyover of New York scenes, modified using techniques that make the imagesÂ look like a combination of miniatures and a color saturated drawing, slightly out of focus at the edges to give a dream-like feeling.
Many differentÂ inexpensive and free image editing programsÂ allow amateurs like me to play with the technique (like one of myÂ pretty lame attempts at the right) but it takes real artistry to create the 45 seconds that open Colbert’s program every night.
Now the show has released a longer, “director’s cut” version of the opening videoÂ with about 90 secondsÂ of unreleased footage. As a bonus, it’s backed by the full version of the show’s wonderful jazz-funk musical theme. Go. Watch. Enjoy.
And I’ll go back to playing with myÂ software.