Reefs, Rubbish and Reason: Hyperbolic Crocheted Reef

Reefs, Rubbish and Reason: Hyperbolic Crocheted Reef

Michelle Chin
Jun 29, 2011

My alma mater, Art Center College of Design, has some great events that are open to the public. Most recently, the show HYPERBOLIC: Reefs, Rubbish and Reason opened with lectures from Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO of Aquarium of the Pacific, and HYPERBOLIC co-curator Margaret Wertheim, both of whom brought light to the plight of coral reefs around the world due to heightened CO2 levels and global warming.

Christine and Margaret Wertheim founded The Institute for Figuring and are creators and curators of The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. They describe the project as: "...a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world."

Math nerds will be interested to know that, in regards to hyperbolic geometry (or non-euclidian geometry), the only way to create a mathematically correct physical model of a hyperbolic plane is by crochet, as developed by Dr Daina Taimin at Cornell University.

As a companion project to the reef, and to explore how much plastic garbage one can accumulate over time while also referencing the dismal state of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the sisters began saving all their plastic trash and have also included it in the exhibit in the form of a huge, funnel-like structure, a crocheted portion of the reef and delicate-looking "jelly fish" created from clear plastic bottles.

Here is a piece from TED with Margaret speaking about the project:

You can find information on starting your own satellite reef here.

If you plan to be in Southern California this summer, the show runs until August 21, 2011 at Art Center College of Design.

(Images: Michelle Chin)

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