Jeg ønsker at gå uden for boksen for denne uges profil af en kunstner, der arbejder med hæklet. Margaret og Christine Wertheim er hjernerne bag Institut for Regne s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef projekt, en miljøvenlig math-smart hæklet projekt, der har inspireret mange Crafters rundt om i verden. The project was originally intended to communicate about science and technology but was more broadly accepted by the art world than the science world. The intention of the Wertheim’s work goes beyond just consumption as art but it definitely emphasizes beauty and has strong links to the art world. The reef project specifically is a great art project and one that I don’t want to neglect to highlight in this blog.
More About Crocheters Margaret and Christine Wertheim
Margaret Wertheim is a cultural historian and science author who formed the Institute for Figuring (IFF) i 2003. Her twin sister Christine Wertheim is a cultural studies professor at the California Institute of the Arts. Together they launched and curate the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project, der har været udstillet i både kunstgallerier og videnskab museer rundt om i verden, begyndende med Andy Warhol Museum i Pittsburgh i 2007. Dette projekt hjalp dem til at modtage den første nogensinde Theo Westenberg Tilskud til Kvinder of Excellence fra Den Autry Museum. Søstrene er oprindeligt fra Queensland, Australien, men bor nu i Los Angeles. De lærte at hækle fra deres mor.
Institut for Regne
IFF er en organisation, der arbejder for at oplyse offentligheden om den æstetiske og poetiske skønhed af videnskab og matematik. Dette omfatter skønheden i naturen (ligesom den hyperbolske geometri i et hav slug) samt skønheden i menneskeskabte kreationer (som islamisk mosaik fliser mønstre). De uddanne hjælp af bogstaver, udstillinger og publikationer, herunder flere udstillinger featuring hyperbolsk hækling arbejde. The organization was founded by Margaret Wertheim because she was discovering so many different artistic things in science (such as hyperbolic crochet) but major science magazines weren’t interested in them because they were considered more art or craft than science. She wanted to share these project as well as make science more accessible to non-scientists.
Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project
Hæklet Coral Reef
Perhaps the most well-known endeavor of the IFF is the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project, which is described as ”a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world”. Basically it is a replication of The Great Barrier Reef that has been done in crochet.
The reef project started out as a joking suggestion by Christine Wertheim. It was taken seriously by Margaret and ultimately became a huge and inspiring art project. The two sisters really balanced their different styles out in this project, with Margaret creating more mathematically correct structured pieces and Christine adding a more playful exploration of crochet.
It is important to note that the reef itself has been crafted by many, many hands. Faktisk, it is considered possibly the world’s largest community art project. From the site:
“The Crochet Reef is a unique fusion of art, videnskab, mathematics, handicraft and community practice that may well be the largest community art project in the world.”
Faktisk, there have been many sub-reefs that have now been created and displayed in addition to the original Great Barrier Reef. One expansion of this project that I like is the Toxic Reef, which incorporates plarn (plastikpose garn) into the design to raise additional awareness about the specific environmental dangers of plastic trash. Another satellite project that I’m interested in is the one created by women in Indiana State Prison. Der er mange krog fængsel projects and I think this one, which adds the components of math and science and art together, is a great one!
It is also important to note that the Wertheim sisters launched this project using the hyperbolic crochet “discovered”i 1997 by Daina Taimina. Taimina realized that using a simple algorithm when crocheting could create mathematically pure figures that could help explain the complexities of geometry in a highly visual format. The Wertheim sisters elevated this to a beautiful artistic level with their reef project. One of the ways in which they expanded upon Taimina’s work was by using different types of yarn – furry yarn, boucles, etc.. – to create strikingly different effects. This is what made the pieces look alive, like sea creatures. Another way that they expanded on Taimina’s work was that they didn’t just increase the same number of stitches each round but alternated their increases to create different organic shapes.
Interesting fact: Taimina originally tried to use knitting to shoe mathematical principals but it didn’t work because it quickly led to too many loops on the needle. Crochet worked!
Understanding the Art of the Crochet Coral Reef
Detail from The Toxic Reef satellite project
Most crochet art has two distinct components to it. Første, it is visually striking. Selvfølgelig, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so you and I may disagree about what makes beautiful crochet art but there’s clearly a visual component to crochet art. Andet, there is typically a message or intention behind the art work. For eksempel, many crochet artists use this craft to explore issues of womanhood, gender identity and relationships because it has traditionally been a domestic art (and not one that’s always been taken seriously as an art form).
The work of Margaret and Christine Wertheim explores these themes. It takes the “indenlandske” or feminine craft of crochet and uses it to explore and explain complex mathematics, typically considered a “mand” subject. Margaret Wertheim has written a book that addresses this issue: En Field Guide til Hyperbolsk Space: En udforskning af skæringspunktet af videregående Geometri og Feminine Håndværk. She also discusses the issue in depth in an interview with Maria Elena Buszek, which was published in an interesting book called Extra/Ordinary: Håndværk og Contemporary Art.
The Crochet Coral Reef Project is also art with a message. It is used to raise awareness of the ecological issues facing this planet, specifically how global warming and pollution are causing great devastation to the natural wonder that is The Great Barrier Reef. It’s green art.
A fun related fact about this project is that several of the crochet reef objects were featured in the sets of a sock puppet play called Quoi that Christine Wertheim wrote and directed in 2008. That’s adding one layer of art to another – Jeg elsker det!
Understanding the Math in Hyperbolic Crochet
I think one of the coolest things about the hyperbolic crochet that has been created, used and written about by these women is the fact that you don’t have to understand math to create with it but it can be used to explain math if you’re interested in that. Hyperbolic crochet uses simple algorithms to create shapes. For someone who is crocheting, this can be translated to something as simple as working in the round and always working two stitches into each stitch of the previous round, thus creating a mathematically pure and visually striking piece of crochet that looks like something that could be found in nature. Men, you can explore it with a mathematician’s eye to get a better sense of what may previously have just been theoretical math for you. I know that I personally didn’t do well in geometry classes at all because my brain just didn’t compute that way but working with hyperbolic crochet techniques helps make some of it just make sense in my brain.
Here’s a snipped of information from the coral reef website that will give you a sense of what I mean:
“Getting started on your own hyperbolic models is easy. The basic insight is to understand that these forms result from the simple process of increasing the number of stitches in every row. The more often you increase stitches the faster the model will grow and the more crenellated the finished form will become. Models can begin with a simple line, resulting in a hyperbolic plane; or from a single point with the crochet spiraling around to gradually fan out like a cone, resulting in what is known as apseudosphere. You may also begin from a circle, which will produce tubular, bell shaped, or trumpeted configurations.”
Another Wertheim Art Piece: Inlandia
Crochet Cactus Garden
The sisters were involved in another similar art project in 2008 which explored the life of LA’s Inland Empire. Their Crochet Cactus Garden was a key feature of this project. The women curated the project, which was a collaborative project featuring the crochet work of nearly one dozen contributors.
Another IFF Crochet Exhibit: The Quick and the Dead
Another crochet project that was put together by the IFF but not curated by the sisters was a piece in the 2009 exhibit called The Quick and the Dead, which was curated by Peter Eleey. Det “small and delicate installation of hyperbolic crochet pieces … takes a fresh look at the history of conceptual art over the past century … (and asks) what is alive and dead within the legacy of conceptual art.”
Margaret and Christine Wertheim Around the Web
Explore the work of these great women who I would definitely call artists!
Hvad tror du,? Are Margaret and Christine Wertheim crochet artists?