When mathematician George Hart created his 11-inch-diameter dodecahedron sculpture titled Frabjous, he had no way of knowing it would inspire an Austin, Texas-based group of Makers, led by artist Ilya Pieper, to create a 10-foot-diameter interactive, musical version. Named The Cathedral of Celestial Mathgic, it’s a celebration of the inherent beauty of math. The supersized polyhedron is at the center of a 50-foot-wide pentagonal structure with four arches shaped like lotus petals.
Participants are encouraged to experiment and play with the sculpture, engaging sensors to control lights and sounds via an Arduino. It’s been installed at Burning Man, Art Outside, and SXSW, and Pieper says she’s even witnessed a large group of people being orchestrated to play all the points simultaneously.
The Cathedral of Celestial Mathgic took a core team of eight Makers (plus friends) roughly nine months to go from concept to creation, including grant writing and fundraising. “It’s been pretty incredible to witness how much effect this piece has had on so many people,” says Pieper. “I don’t think I ever could have imagined.”