having the nature of hyperbole; exaggerated.
using hyperbole; exaggerating.
Mathematics. a) of or pertaining to a hyperbola. b) derived from a hyperbola, as a hyperbolic function.
I went in to the Science Gallery in Dublin City Centre yesterday to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. I brought the three crazies with me, partially because DH wanted to rip up carpet and floorboards in the house in some crazed DIY frenzy but mainly because recently Thing 1 and Thing 2 have been glued to “Scooby Doo and the Great Barrier Reef” and have been quizzing each other on what they know about coral and the Barrier Reef. I thought the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef might serve as a “cross-over” medium for them; certainly it was a confluence of their interests and mine.
I’ve been hearing about the Crochet Coral reef from Crafters I follow on Twitter and elsewhere online, mainly people such as BionicLaura, Irene Lundgaard and StitchLily (agus lucht eigin as gaeilge). Certainly, my curiosity was piqued. I was not disappointed by what I saw. Some astonishing displays of creativity and craftmanship, I must say.
By all accounts, it all started in 1997 when Dr Daina Taimina “discovered it was possible to model hyperbolic space using crochet, an innovation that surprised the mathematical world.” The photo of the purple blobbiness on the right is one of her crochet models – also on dispaly – and the yellow tacking shows how parallel lines behave in hyperbolic space. Instead of staying an equal distant apart, as in Euclidian geomety; or converging at the poles as they do in spherical geometry; they diverge – getting further and further apart. It’s fascinating. It also made me wonder if Daina Taimina and Debbie New have ever met.
In coral reefs the endless whimsical diversity of forms – loopy kelps, fringed anemones, crenallated corals or curlicued sponges – are all variations within the mathematical structure of hyperbolic space. Due to global warming and pollutants these fragile marvels such as The Great Barrier Reef – an acknowledged wonder of the natural world – and other reefs face devastation.
“In homage to these disappearing treasures, Austrailian sisters Christine and Margaret Wertheim, instigated a project to crochet a handmade reef.” The Wertheim twins have spent the past five years building on Dr Taimina’s techniques, through elaborations of her original crochet code; and “developed an ever-evolving taxonomy of reef life-forms”.
In cities where the “Core Reef” is shown, the Wertheim twins work with local communities to make their own “Satelite Reef” and the Irish Reef is the newest addition to this. The display for the Irish Contribution gets its own designated area – on the upper floor of the Science Gallery. I picked out the coral (shown in the photo on the right below) for special attention, deliberately with my knitting buddy Clarabel in mind. The fringe is done in the same green novelty yarn that she despaired of me owning, let alone using, last December!
Some “Irish Reefers” also contributed to the “Ladies Silurian Atoll” which the exhibition catalogue describes as being “made by a small and intimate group of the Reef’s most dedicated contributors.” Indeed the exhibition catalogue makes many references to some “favourite” contributors being particularly “expert” or masterly in their knowledge of the craft or of materials and I was a little uneasy with the hierarchical notions this smacks of. It doesn’t take from the overall effect of brilliant, collaborative creativity, however.
The environmentalist in me would have liked to have seen more graphics about the background to “The Toxic Reef” and “The Bleached Bone Reef” – it was a missed opportunity to lay it on with a trowel how terrible it is that man has made an island of plastic in the Pacific that is twice the size of Texas.
The crafter in me was a little troubled, however. I went because I knew – albeit online-ly – some of the contributors. There are no tags to say who has contributed what. So while some contributors are feted in the catalogue others’ work is piled in together. I think I’m jealous/ resentful on behalf of those that I know that have contributed a lot of their time and effort. For example, while I was on the second floor, I recognised a kindred crafter and was able to deduce from her that yes, she had contributed but no, she couldn’t find her work on display. My worry was that, due to limitations of space in the Science Gallery, that her work was not put on display at all. Because of this, perhaps unfairly, the crafter in me – an exhibitionist at the best of times – would not be swayed towards contibuting towards the Coral Reef in the future despite how much I may be chided by the mathematical, scientific or environmentalist sides of my brain.
However, I have to add, this is the perspective of someone who wasn’t involved in the process and perhaps just being involved in creating this fantastic work of art is reward enough.