While I was at the Hayward Gallery reveling in the awesome Psycho Buildings exhibition on Friday, I also popped upstairs into their Project Space to see the legendary Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef with my own eyes. Back in 2006 twin sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim noticed that some of the warped crocheting they'd been experimenting with looked an awful lot like coral, and decided to do an entire reef. There have since been all sorts of overblown connections to hyperbolic space and global warming, but it doesn't diminish the fact that the reef is pretty darn cool in person. I think the link between art and science is most effective in some of the newer sections that incorporate plastic scraps and other garbage in an attempt to call attention to real-life environmental damage:
Although Wertheim is thrilled that galleries are queuing up to display the work, she hopes one day to find a permanent home for it, preferably not in her own sitting room. As she explains to the group in the Festival Hall how the Great Barrier Reef is slowly dying, you start to wonder whether the crochet homage might one day be all we have left, physically, to remind us of the real thing.
If you can't visit the reef yourself the Guardian has some nice shots of it here. It's enough to inspire me to finally learn how to crochet, not to mention knit. I've been saying I want to learn for a while now though. It's a time management issue.