# Yvette Kaiser Smith – Numbers as source of abstraction

I create wall-based geometric abstractions by inventing systems for visualizing numerical values of sequences from numbers pi and e while utilizing grids and repetition of simple geometric shapes. Numbers are the direct source of abstraction.

Majority of my past works are wall-based, crocheted fiberglass constructions. In 1996, when these things began, they were based on identity narratives. Number sequences made their way in as design necessity to deal with space and time issues. I realized then that numbers are in all aspects of identity. Math is inseparable from nature, from us; outside of us, in census based social structures and in multitude of personal ID numbers. Since 2007, all my work has been number generated. Still, for some years after, the identity stuff was part of the decision making. Now, the only conscious source of abstraction are the numbers.

The crocheted fiberglass forms express numbers in very basic and obvious ways. One system creates a grid-based pattern. For example: Identity Sequence e 4 is based on the beginning sequence of the number e. It is constructed from 323 small units, 17 rows by 19 columns, to look like an enlarged section of a microscopic organic blueprint. Flesh toned units directly articulate each digit. The four-molecule sequence of human DNA determined the use of four alternating colors which serve as the space between each flesh toned digit.

Another system that works well with this material and process is one where value of digits determines depth of convex forms. Etudes from Pi in 5 Squared is based on the first 25 digits of the number pi. Sequence reads left to right, top to bottom. A grid organizes 25 units into 5 rows and 5 columns. The curved units alternate from convex to concave. Here, the value of the digit determines the depth of each individual unit. A unit representing digit 1 is 3.5” deep, pushing the curve out 2” for digit 2, then 2” for digit 3, and so on. The largest unit, representing the 9 digit, pushes out 19.5”.

I go to Pascal’s number triangle often for an anchor structure. Identity Sequence Pascal’s Triangle Red is based on digits from the first six rows of Pascal’s Triangle. Blocks of the same color represent each digit. Two triangles, one inverted, touch at their beginning digit, locking the two halves together. Individual units, which look like little tunnels, are joined end to end, alluding to organic strands while retaining their strong sense of architecture. In Pi in Pascal’s Triangle Round 3 the form of each triangle is based on the first four rows of Pascal’s Triangle. Five colors are distributed using the first 30 digits of pi. Pascal’s Triangle Squared 1, 2 are two of four panels, each based on the first five rows of Pascal’s Triangle which contain digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Diameters of individual discs that make up each triangle were found by taking the square root of relevant digits.

In 2016 I was introduced to a laser-cutter. I began exploring new systems of visualizing the math while building wall-based work with laser-cut acrylic sheets separated by vinyl spacers. Codex: pi 1021 consists of 48 acrylic panels, attached to the wall as a grid of 7 rows and 7 columns, hung 2” apart. Each panel measures 11.5” x 17.5”. Panels allude to design templates, coded tablets, or pages. Sequence from pi determines color and pattern placement using three colors and four different, yet related, pattern notations. Sequence is run top to bottom/left to right. Simple geometric shapes plot numerical values following, in sequence, the first 1021 digits of pi. Zeros within the sequence shift panels to open spaces within the grid.

The pi x 5s Series follows a system that visualizes a specific 5-digit sequence from within pi. Value of digits determines diameter of the semi-circular cut-outs. Numbers are applied clockwise starting with left panel. Fifth digit moves one of the four panels that overlap to create a square. Omitted panels indicate a zero. Position of a particular 5-digit sequence within the larger sequence in the expanding series determines which panel is shifted. Because no sequence in pi repeats, as I expand the series by following the number in order, this system can create an infinite number of unique works.

Find Yvette here: yvettekaisersmith.com