© Copyright 2016
University of Windsor
These pictures were taken on September 23-24, 2006 in LaSalle, Ontario at the Annual Fahrenheit Festival. The festival features the work of local artists who create sculptures from straw and other burnable materials. The photos serve to document some of the process of building the Sierpinski Tetrahedron and the burning of the sculpture. It was constructed by Wayne Tousignant, Darren Stanley and Thomas MacKay. The photos were taken by Thomas MacKay.
This project emerged through discussion between Wayne and Darren on ways in which one might take up art and mathematics. The result, after a few serendipitous conversations, was the construction of a mathematical object objet known as a "fractal." Fractals are organic structures that posses scale invariance and self-similarity. Much of the "natural" world is fractal. Like a tree, there are details on every scale and smaller parts, e.g., a twig or a larger limb, look like larger wholes, e.g., the tree itself. In the case of the Sierpionski Tetrahedron, you can discern tetrahedrons on several scales all at once. The structure embodies the notion of self-similarity in a strict sense - ignoring any kind of differences in the actual construction of the object. Most fractals in nature are not quite so "tidy" in their self-similarity, but are, more or less, the same on many scales.