Chaotic Sculpture

Created by Dr. Benjamin Storch the Manifold sculpture is a unique combination of science and art. The sculpture is a physical representation of the famous mathematical object known as the Lorenz manifold – a complex surface that emerges from a well-known model of chaotic systems.

Storch, a British sculptor, got the idea for his sculpture from mathematicians Prof. Bernd Krauskopf and Dr. Hinke Osinga from the University of Bristol. In 2004, Krauskopf and Osinga created their own model “sculpture” representing the Lorenz manifold using 25,511 crochet stitches. Storch’s sculpture is made of steel, rather than of fabric, and is considered to be more accurate. In order to create the complex form of th sculpture, Storch used a technique where central surface areas are compressed and peripheral areas are stretched. Measuring 780 X 780 X 480 mm, the Manifold is an extraordinary piece of stainless-steel craftsmanship, combining mathematics and art.

According to Storch, the collaboration with the two Bristol researchers started after he meet the two in a conference. After seeing Storch’s other works Krauskopf and Osinga suggested that he try and make a metal model of the Lorenz manifold, which they studied parting the framework of their academic research. Storch worked on the sculpture using a computer-aided design (CAD) representation of the manifold. However, he admits that even with a very precise model in front of him, creating the sculpture was a challenge. The strength of the steel played a key-role in maintaining the complex structure, especially given the narrow metal band used.

TFOT has covered many science-art related topics, including the liquid-time sculpture, the levitating wirelessly powered light bulb, the Aluna Moon Clock and the NanoArt competition

A mathematical background to the Krauskopf and Osinga work on the Lorenz manifold can be found on their “Crocheting the Lorenz manifold” article (PDF). A slightly less technical discussion of the subject can be found here.

Storch’s website, including more images of the Manifold sculpture, can be found here. A press release by the University of Bristol covering the sculpture can be found here. The sculpture itself will be shown at the “Craft in the Bay” museum in Cardiff, Wales.

Image: Professor Bernd Krauskopf (left), Doctor Hinke Osinga (right) and Doctor Benjamin Storch (middle) (Credit: Dr. Benjamin Storch).

Further discussion on the Manifold sculpture can be found on the TFOT forums.