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Thursday, April 10, 2008

An evening in Jamaica Plain

Barbara and I spent a few hours yesterday evening in Jamaica Plain. First we walked to the Axiom Gallery, which is hosting an intriguing Math and Art exhibit through April 27 right next to the Green Street T station (confusingly on the Orange Line, not the Green Line). Most of the art is worth seeing for its own sake, but the special appeal for me was the large number of connections with some of the topics that my precalculus class has been studying this year. The sculptures of Bathsheba Grossman are particularly striking. For example:
Bathsheba
The works of Kevin van Aelst were also vividly related to what we’ve been studying, as his Dragon Curve, Sierpinski Arrowhead (made of Triscuits!), and Cantor Set made out of a fractal egg all show:
Dragon Curve   Sierpinski Arrowhead   Cantor Set made from fractal egg
I was also intrigued by the works of Keith Peters, which could readily be modeled in NetLogo or StarLogo, even though he apparently used neither, and also by the works of J. Michael James, whose fractal condor was especially beautiful as it swooped around on a large screen.

All in all, definitely a worthwhile experience. I just wish the exhibit had been more extensive, so that I could have justified recommending it to my Weston students. Barbara and I spent 45 minutes there, but I think most of my students would feel done with it after 20 — hardly worth the trip from Weston. But it would be worth the trip from Dorchester, even if we hadn’t already been in JP (where Barbara works).

Anyway, after visiting the gallery, we walked to Cafe D, where we had a pleasant and delicious dinner. Crispy calamari followed by a fish taco and salad for Barbara; arancini followed by duck confit with a cassoulet of braised white beans, portabella mushrooms, and pancetta for me. With wine, tax, and tip, it all came to just under a hundred dollars, which seems to be par for the course these days. It might or might not be worth the trip from Dorchester (on the edge, in my judgment), but, as I said, we were there anyway.

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