Stack of Books
Books: From the beginning to the end
The Stack of Books was one of the very early components for the installation. Once we had decided that the books should be recognizable, in that one would see titles and authors on their spines, we had lengthy discussions about which books to pick. It became clear quickly that there was not enough room for a fully justifiable selection of “important books”, so we opted for an impressionistic and eclectic collection.
Selection process of the books
In just 15 books, we wanted to point to the many roots of mathematics in different cultures and coming from different backgrounds, to emphasize the playful as well as serious aspects of mathematics, and to link with various themes in the whole installation. Many of us proposed books for the Stack, and we voted to make the final selection — we all mourned some books that had to be left off the list in the end.
For the historical root books, we asked mathematicians or historians of mathematics for advice about spelling and fonts. For the Ṡulbasūtras, in particular, Manjul Bhargava consulted on our behalf several experts on Sanskrit and the history of mathematics in India; K. Ramasubramanian became very interested in the question and wrote an 18-page commentary that can be found here
Stack of Books’ Fabrication
The Stack of Books fulfills a structural role: it hides a very solid steel pillar that supports a significant part of the installation.
The concrete manufacture of the stack was carried out by Stephan LaCourse and Dominique Ehrmann, using old encyclopedia volumes that had once been consulted on an almost daily basis by an intellectually curious family, but had been gathering dust for the last 15 years, having outlived their useful life in this Wikipedia age.
The covers and backs were manufactured by Dominique out of fabrics and leather, with fancy stitching.
The Music Book
The Music Book was made with the same technology as the Cavalcade sheets: first printed on fabric, and then given a solid backing that allowed for a curly-pages display.
The Neo-Riemannian Tonnetz torus was 3D-printed by Henry Segerman.