Princeton University

The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities

HUM 598, M-u-l-t-i-p-l-i-c-i-t-y

Philip Ording & David Reinfurt

Mondays, 1:30–4:20 pm

Spring 2021

In this course, students explore graphic design from the vantage point of topology and topology through the practice of graphic design. We investigate topology at the junctions of surface, network, and set, illustrating the schematic nature of these configurations, as they appear in the context of certain problems in modern and contemporary graphic design. Such as, how to render figures that take multiple forms? Student design work and topological experiments are guided through class prompts, readings, and discussion. No particular experience in design or mathematics required.

Print syllabus / Download readings

February 1, 2021

The bridges problem

The bridges problem

Readings

The-Solution-to-a-Problem-Relating-to-the-Geometry-of-Position.pdf (Leonhard Euler)

A-Happy-Octopus.pdf (Phylis and Philip Morrison)

Resources

Connections-The-Work-of-Charles-and-Ray-Eames.pdf (Philip Morrison, Ralph Caplan)

Mathematica-A-World-of-Numbers-and-Beyond.pdf (Ray and Charles Eames)

February 8, 2021

The problem of multiplicity

Readings

The problem of multiplicity

Readings

Multiplicity.pdf (Italo Calvino)

The-Garden-of-Forking-Paths.pdf (Jorge Luis Borges)

Resources

Songs for the tape bow violin (Laurie Anderson)

Study for Player Piano No. 36 (Conlon Nancarrow)

Locus Solo (Trisha Brown)

February 15, 2021

The meta problem

Readings

The meta problem

Readings

Letter-&-Spirit.pdf (Dexter Sinister)

The-Concept-of-a-Meta-font.pdf (Donald Knuth)

Metafont-Metamathematics-and-Metaphysics.pdf (Douglas Hofstadter)

Resources

February 22, 2021

The polyhedron problem

The polyhedron problem

Reading

Proofs-and-Refutations.pdf (Imre Lakatos)

Everything I Know (Buckminster Fuller)

March 1, 2021

The inside out problem

Readings

The inside out problem

Readings

Inside-Out.pdf (Steingart)

Resources

Visitor

Alma Steingart, Department of History, Columbia University

March 8, 2021

The problem of continuity

Readings

The problem of continuity

Readings

Species-of-Spaces.pdf (Georges Pere

*c)*Hypothesis.pdf (Adrian Piper)

Resources

Life-A-Users-Manual (Georges Perec)

March 22, 2021

The knot problem

Reading

The knot problem

Reading

Mathematical-Games.pdf (Martin Gardner)

Resources

Braids and Knots (Joan Birman)

March 29, 2021

The projection problem

Readings

The projection problem

Readings

Resources

Visitor

Anthony McCall

April 12, 2021

The curve problem

The curve problem

Readings

Mathematical-Artefacts.pdf (Byron Cook)

When-X-is-Not-X.pdf (David Reinfurt)

Resources

April 19, 2021

The problem of structure

Reading

The problem of structure

Reading

Bourbaki.pdf (Maurice Mashaal)

Resources

Sculpture-in-the-Expanded-Field.pdf (Rosalind Krauss)

"Irrational Thoughts Should be Followed Absolutely and Logically" (Mariabruna Fabrizi)