One spark

Intriguing chat with a mum who brought her two sons with her when she wandered around our set-up in the exhibition room the Malvern Hills Gallery earlier in the year. One of her sons, who is apparently counted as very good at maths, walked round and shrugged. Disappointing, because most of the people who relate to the work are precisely people who like to think themselves as good at maths. But the really fascinating thing was the reaction of her other son, who ‘struggles’ with maths. Apparently he spent ages going round the display, reading the explanations and then staring at each design until he could see how it worked. For him at least, the designs did exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Someone should tell him that what he did was real mathematics – taking an idea and worrying it like a dog with a toy until it reveals its secrets – why it is as it is and why it must be that way.