Following the Footsteps of Daedalus: Labyrinth Studies Meets Visual Mathematics

Kristóf Fenyvesi, Slavik Jablan and Ljiljana Radović
Proceedings of Bridges 2013: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2013)
Pages 361–368 Regular Papers


Karl Kerényi, the internationally renowned Hungarian classical philologist and scholar of religion, carried out significant mythological research on the labyrinth, both as a cultural symbol and a specific geometrical structure. In this paper, we summarize Ker´nyi's main findings and connect his mythological studies with visual-mathematical and ethno-mathematical research to provide a geometrical and topological analysis of these symbolic structures. In our visual mathematical analysis, we propose a very simple “cut and paste” construction of labyrinths based on a system of parallel black and white strips. Then we generalize the concept of the labyrinth and extend it to arbitrary graphs. Finally, we introduce an interesting example for the use of labyrinthine structures in contemporary art and in interactive exhibitions promoting experience-centered education of mathematics.