I am Matthew Shlian, an artist/designer working in Ann Arbor Michigan. One team I work with studies self-assembly on the nano scale. They are using advanced systems to “shake” modular polyhedral forms into nesting arrangements. These computers simulate shaking these forms until they are so tightly packed that there’s nowhere for them to go.


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Picture hundreds of 20 sided dice in a large box. After being shaken until the forms are tightly compact, the team takes a virtual slice from the Y axis. When we extract the layer we see a 12 sided aperiodic repeating form similar to Arabic tile design.

Take a second slice, but this time from a different axis and a whole new pattern appears. Slice again, diagonal or arbitrarily, another pattern emerges. This research into visualization of pattern intrigues me. It questions the macro/micro patterning of nature, the structures we find on the nanoscale and directly compares it to architecture and ornamentation. I use these structures as a basis for artwork.

More info: eightemperors.com

I’ve never been good at “math” but I understand things geometrically

Ara 117 in Black, paper 18 x 24 x 1/2 in.

Lattice, paper 8 x 10 x 5 in.

Bloom, paper 4 x 4 x 4 in.

Sleeper, paper 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 1/4 in.

Ara 142, paper 24 x 18 x 1/2 in.

Ara 117 in Silver, silver foil paper 18 x 24 x 1/2 in.

Cutout Flipbook in Black, paper 7 1/2 x 1 x 4 in.

Process 10, paper 10 x 13 x 1/2 in.

paper 12 x 16 x 1/2 in

paper 4 x 3.5 x 2.5 in

paper 10 x 10 x 1/2 in

paper 10 x 10 x 1/2 in

paper 3 x 3 x 12 in