Matthew Gardiner


The Folded Geometry of the Universe


Science currently theorises that approximately 85% of the universe, known as dark matter, is folded like an origami sheet. How might we imagine something that is not only invisible, but can only be inferred by mathematics?

The Folded Geometry of the Universe attempts to make sense of nature through the study of folding and technology. According to recent theories of physics, the universe began when separate dimensions folded into one, resulting in the Big Bang. Expansion commenced instantly and space-time came into being. Using folding as its metaphor, the sculpture imagines the infinite shape of a continually expanding universe. In this analogy, unfolding is expansion or time flowing forward. Each single fold represents a new space-time entity. They are infinite, an ever-cascading flow of intricately connected events. Time flowing in reverse is contraction, the reduction of folds and events, back to nothing.

The Folded Geometry of the Universe is a static moment, a singular present but it invites audiences to imagine their own folded universes. The sculpture is a provocation to contemplate an infinity of folds, to follow the endless spiral geometry – infinitely large and infinitely small – of a universe breathing as time oscillates between being and nothingness.

3D nylon print

65 x 70 x 30 cm

Matthew Gardiner is a pioneer of ‘Oribotics’, a field of art/science that explores the convergence of origami, folding and robotics. Gardiner’s works portray an altered future where folding forms are the fundamental fabric of life. His artistic process explores the concept of folding as code for matter, by creating works that exhibit material intelligence.

A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Gardiner has worked on individual art projects and collaboratively with commercial and research organisations. His practice incorporates aesthetic and interactive experience design, manufacturing, rapid prototyping, expert-level origami and code. Gardiner is a researcher at Ars Electronica Futurelab in the field of functional aesthetics. Recent exhibitions include: ORI*LAB, Ars Electronica 2016; ORI* Coding for Matter, Kyoto; Project Genesis, Ars Electronica Linz; Surface to Structure, New York; and Artists As Catalysts, Bilbao. His current activities include doctoral work on folding and technology, and a major new project supported by the FWF’s Program for Arts-Based Research: ORI* On the Language and Aesthetics of Folding and Technology.

Top: Photo by Nicky Pastore © Experimenta Media Arts. Bottom: Photo courtesy of the artist © the artist