Some people just shovel snow; he shapes it into dodecahedrons

Most of us dread more snow, but Dan Sternof Beyer is looking forward to it.

Beyer is the artist responsible for the mysterious snowdecahdrons that have shown up in Porter Square and Dewey Square after recent storms. So far this season, he's created about ten large versions of the 12-sided objects and 20 to 30 smaller versions.

In an interview with Universal Hub, Beyer said he creates the snowdecahedrons by packing snow into a dodecahdron-shaped box. But not just any snow. "I've become extremely picky about snow, which I'd never thought I'd be, but it has to be just above freezing, after a large snowstorm so the snow is clean, sticks together, packs well, but isn't soggy," he said.

Beyer said his original goal was to build cement dodecahdrons, but "when it began to snow it was just the perfect medium, this temporary, packable sculptural material everywhere, and I just started going out and making them."

Beyer, a West Coast native now living in Porter Square, said he's attracted to dodecahdrons because of their complexity and unusual history. About a year ago, he said, he became interested in how many ways one could unfold a decahedron and found that there are 43,380 different ways. He said that led to an exploration of the form's unique angles - and history. Beyer said he learned that in ancient Greece, the dodecahedron was hidden from the public as elite knowledge. Plato theorized it was one of the five polyhedra whose shapes defined the very universe. Beyer said he's enjoying the symbolism of revealing this estoeric knowledge to the public through his sculptures.

"Everyone seems to like them because I think it is an inherently beautiful shape, and people don't really understand how it could be made out of snow, which I think is attractive," he said of his ephemeral works - they only last around six or seven hours.

Where next? Beyer points to possible installations at Harvard or MIT. "There are some really beautiful spots there and because of the contextual relations to the dodecahedron and the elite knowledge of Harvard and MIT, it would kind of be a way of poking fun of the institutions in a very esoteric way," he said.

Snowdecahedron photos.



Free tagging: 


I don't know why...

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...but it makes me think of cheap sci-fi tv show Dr. Who (late 70s early 80s edition).


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Perhaps you're thinking of the Kelvans, who distilled crew members into dodecahedron-like shapes, then crumbled them into dust (well, one, anyway).

Technically, the Kelvans used cuboctahedrons (cuboctahedra?), but close enough for Star Trek work.

Wow . . .

. . . you beat me to it. Exactly the Star Trek episode I had in mind- didn't know they were "kelvans" or anything like that- not that big of a nerd- but yeah- I remembered that episode and the crumbling of them into dust.

nerd alert

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nerd alert


I think it's more likely he was remembering - a Doctor Who serial first broadcast in 1980, whose plot revolved around a mysterious dodecahedral crystal that powered the entire Tigellan society. (yes, I rewatched it the night before last :).

And that was actually a dodecahedron.

Golf Balls - the outside anyway

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Various forms of dodecahedron are used as the base model for aerodynamic dimple patterns on golf balls - the man is literally doing rocket science in the snow! :-)