London Tsai
Time Machine Component (from Tralfamadore)

aluminum and stainless steel
28 x 28 x 28 in

Ostensibly resembling Marcel Duchamp's Water Mill, this object was first inspired by conversations with algebraic geometer Loring Tu and then with topologist Ken Baker. One way to make new spaces out of existing spaces is to "multiply" them together; the resulting space is then known as a product space. That's interesting, but kind of flat; so another thing that we can do is to put torsion or a twist into it. Here, there's a 180 degree twist.

Being an object that exists in four dimensions, this piece is well-known to the average Tralfamadorian*. In fact, we believe that it was a key component in the machine that allowed them to experience time as we do. This would be akin to a contraption that would put us squarely (literally!) in two-dimensions.

*This was brought to my attention when an insightful student of mine claimed that I was from Tralfamadore. Though I did not contradict her, I was surprised to learn that in her eyes I appeared to be a two-foot tall green-colored being. So it goes.