Three Mathematics Films, Directed by Ray Redheffer
These materials were used to explore possible shape and color combinations for the animation of Exponents and Two Laws of Algebra, two of three films that UCLA professor of mathematics Ray Redheffer made with the help of the Eames Office in the early 1970s. Made by photographing cut-paper against a glass pane, these stop-motion animations communicated without narration, only lively soundtracks. The Eameses began making films for educational, exhibition, and commercial purposes in 1950. Many of these, particularly those that visualized intangible concepts, owe much to Ray’s acuity for color and form. While the first of Redheffer’s films, Alpha, relied only on conventional mathematical symbols and numerals to depict algebraic concepts, his other two films mixed these symbols with brightly colored forms in unusual shapes, including oblong hexagons, angular teardrops, and four-pointed stars. Ray’s notes provide evidence of the support she offered Redheffer, which included dividing the shapes into “hard” and “soft” forms, the former characterized by straight lines and the latter by curves.
- Dimensions:11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.9 cm)