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200 Circles

In 2018 Dalhousie alumnus Erik Demaine (BSc'95) and his father Martin Demaine gave the gift of science and art to Dalhousie University in celebration of its 200th Anniversary.

The Making

Guided by the geometry of origami, Erik and Martin created the 200 Circles curved-crease sculpture using pages from The Lives of Dalhousie University Volume One, written by Dal historian P.B. Waite.

The artists printed their montage on several sheets of paper. They cut each into a circular shape with a hole in the centre. Then they carefully scored a pattern of concentric circles onto the sheets—half on one side, half on the other—and folded along the creases to create mountains and valleys. As the paper is folded, it begins to curve naturally into a three-dimensional shape with new properties. Assembling each new curved-crease object reinforces the strength of the piece. When it becomes stiff the artists know their sculpture is complete.

The Meaning

Dalhousie's rich history inspired 200 Circles. To name their work of art, Erik and Martin took inspiration from the rings that mark a tree’s age. 200 Circles symbolizes a new dimension of Dalhousie’s story as its third century rises over the horizon.

The Artists

Erik Demaine was Dalhousie's youngest graduate ever, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computing Science (1995) at age 14. Now he's a renowned mathematician, artist, and professor of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Martin Demaine is Erik's father and a well-established artist specializing in glass blowing and origami sculptures. Now he's an Artist-in-Residence, Instructor and Visiting Scientist at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.