Crocheted Coral Reef on Exhibit
To honor the fragility of the world’s coral reefs, the co-directors of the Institute for Figuring (IFF), Margaret and Christine Wertheim, have launched a project to crochet a woolen reef. Using the techniques of hyperbolic crochet discovered by mathematician Dr. Daina Taimina, the institute has been creating a wide taxonomy of reef-life forms: loopy "kelps," fringed "anemones," and curlicued "corals." The Crochet Reef is a collaborative project, with individual reefs constructed by crafters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and the UK.
While the process that brings these models into being is algorithmic, endless permutations of the underlying formulas result in a constantly surprising display of shapes. The quality of yarn, style of stitch, and tightness of the crochet all affect the finished model so that each is as individual as a living organism.
The Crochet Reef is made up of various "sub-reefs," each with its own colors and styling. There is the Red Reef, the Blue Reef, the Bleached Reef, the Branched Anemone Garden, and the institute's largest work, The Ladies' Silurian Atoll, a ring-shaped installation with close to 1,000 individual crochet forms. In addition to these woolen sub-reefs is the massive Toxic Reef, which is crocheted from yarn and plastic trash.
The Crochet Reef is currently showing at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica from January 10 through February 21, 2009. On show along with the IFF's Core Reef Collection are the Chicago Reef, the New York Reef, and parts of the U.K. Reef. The exhibition will also include several new reef constellations by individual contributors, including an incredible white reef by Dr Axt, a miniature grove of coral spires by Arlene Mintzer, and Nadia Severn's plastic+yarn Bottle Tree Garden. The exhibition will also debut an expanded version of the IFF's gigantic plastic-trash-agglomeration, the Toxic Reef.
The Institute for Figuring is an organization dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics, and the technical arts. The IFF invites crocheters everywhere to contribute models to the reef. It is a collaborative project and all contributors will be fully acknowledged online and in future exhibitions.