In March and April of 1996, Tom Banchoff held a one-man show at the Providence Art Club's Dodge House gallery. (The postcard invitation is depicted above.) The exhibit consisted of twelve computer-generated mathematical images and a continuusly running video featuring several short computer animations, all produced by Tom Banchoff in collaboration with student assistants.
When the show closed in April, Tom did not want to see the exhibit end, and so he asked Davide Cervone, his former Ph.D. student then an Assistant Professor at Union College, to help turn the art show into a virtual one on the internet. The result of this project was the interactive web site Surfaces Beyond the Third Dimension.
The tour of the art show begins with a floor-plan of the Dodge House gallery, where the viewer can select any wall to look at. From there, he or she is presented with small views of the artwork hanging on that wall, and can click on any one of them to see an enlargement, together with links to the artists comments, a discussion of the mathematics underlying the image, or movies of surfaces depicted in the image. A click on the edge of one of the walls takes the viewer to the neighboring wall in that direction. There is even a guestbook where visitors can leave messages for the artist.
One visitor to the virtual gallery was José Francisco Rodrigues, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Lisbon, Protugal. His comment was the following:
"Congratulations. Your exhibit is a wonderful example of how Mathematics can also be communicated through (and with) Art in the Information Society. I have really appreciated it. Hope to see more in future..." --- José Francisco Rodrigues
Lisboa, Portugal, 7 December 1999
In early 2000, Professor Rodrigues contacted Banchoff and suggested that the original show be recreated as a traveling exhibit in Portugal. The artist readily agreed, so the text was translated into Portuguese, and the electronic files were recreated and sent the the production team in Lisbon, where elegant prints and high-resolution movies were generated, both larger than the originals. The result was a beautiful and striking display that incorporated both static images, movie clips, and interactive computer models, the natural physical embodiment of the virtual gallery Rodrigues had seen on line.
Tom Banchoff shakes hands with José Francisco Rodrigues in front of one of the images in the traveling exhibit, Para Além da Terceira Dimensão, at the Madeira Tecnopalo in Funchal, Portugal. At the left is Davide Cervone, who created the images and movies in collaboration with Tom.
The traveling exhibit was accompanied by a stunning gallery book that reproduced the artworks and their commentary, and a CD-ROM that included all the electronic movies and interactive objects. There is also a Portuguese web site that commemorates the exhibit, and includes the two new images commissioned from Davide Cervone especially for this show.