For my contribution to an exhibit about the number sEVEn, I created a work which celebrates that numeral by virtue of its individual components and overall significance. In particular, I found the number's association with "wholeness" to be especially compelling.
The idea of wholeness in turn made me think of loving relationships in which two separate individuals can come together, however imperfectly, and complete one another.
And so these ruminations led me to use the format of a puzzle -- a format whose very nature self-consciously evokes a sense of individuality as well as completeness. I wanted Interchangeable Parts or A Perfect Fit -- with its chunky, movable wooden pieces, brightly colored shapes, and bold patterns -- to evoke an old-fashioned puzzle, the kind that might attract a restless child's attention. But I also wanted it to be a "fitting" analogy for the complex character of human relations.
Cape Cod Community College's Katherine Condon, Professor of Mathematics, did a mathematical calculation to discern the number of different ways in which this work can be exhibited. She found that with 7 moving parts and 4 positions...there are 840 different ways to display the artwork!
The equation she used to figure this out is a permutation:
7! = 7 factorial = 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1
7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1
3 x 2 x 1
(7 - 4)!
Permutations = 840