Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hyperbolic Space

"Hyperbolic crochet is the product of an unexpected branch of geometry. For 2000 years mathematicians tried to prove the only possible geometries were of the flat plane and the sphere. Great minds expended themselves on the effort only to discover in the 19th century that a third option was available - hyperbolic space. Mathematicians' scepticism about hyperbolic space had been based in part on their inability to imagine what it would look like, they had no way of modelling it physically. Most were astounded when, in 1997, Dr. Daina Taimina, a Latvian émigré at Cornell University, presented a hyperbolic structure made with crochet. Nature, meanwhile, had discovered the form by the Silurian age. Corals, kelps, sponges, nudibranches and flatworms all exhibit hyperbolic anatomical features. Ways of constructing once perceived as 'merely' women's craft now emerge as revelatory of forms of a more complex, embodied way of thinking about the world both mathematically and physically."

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, The Hayward Project Space, South Bank Centre, London, until 17 August


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