Symmetry: Breaking Through the Looking Glass


Session Title:

  • Science and Art 2: Visual

Presentation Title:

  • Symmetry: Breaking Through the Looking Glass




  • Abstract (short paper)

    For thousands of years artists have been inspired by symmetry in the natural world. Their work, directly or indirectly, led to the science of symmetry: the symbols and codecs enabling the analysis and expansion of this phenomenon as a visual language. Presently, symmetry is a vibrant topic led by research in Mathematics, Biology and Physics. But what has happened to this theme in the arts? Since M.C. Escher’s works last century, there doesn’t appear to be much interest in symmetry. Symmetry is broken today, but in a good way. As in Lewis Carol’s masterpiece, when Alice falls through the looking glass she find an enchanting and mysterious world, far more curious and engrossing then her winter ensconced Victorian drawing room. The same pageantry is exemplified in the various fields of art: although a powerful starting point, breaking symmetry yields greater complexity in subsequent manifestations. When integrated with other techniques and concepts, the resulting artworks are sophisticated, intricate and at times awe-inspiring.

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