I’ve been following the work of Margaret and Christine Wertheim, founders of the Institute for Figuring, for a few years now. I tried my own hand at hyperbolic crochet, and was invited by Margaret to contribute to her coral reef project. At one point, I had intended to make something of the collection of blue New York Times bags I’ve been collecting, but I have not had enough time to put into crafting in quite a while.
In any case, the hyperbolic crochet coral reef and toxic reef projects have continued without my participation and is now a wonderful exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. Exhibition dates: October 13 -Dec 16, 2007. See more photos here (Chicago Exhibition) and here (toxic reef).
Finally, read more about the project on the Institute for Figuring‘s website. Excerpt:
…this collective celebration is motivated also by an ecological urgency, for coral is being devastated by global warming, agricultural run-off, urban effluent and marine pollutants. 3000 square kilometers of living reef are lost every year, nearly five times the rate of rainforest elimination. Ironically, as reefs disappear a sinister substitute is growing beneath the waves: In the north Pacific ocean the world’s plastic garbage is accumulating, fifty years of plastic trash building into a vortex twice the size of Texas and 30 meters deep. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it is known, is a ghastly analog to the Great Barrier Reef, an aquatic “wonder” of appalling dimensions that continues to accrete. To highlight this monstrosity and our own role in its making, the latest spawn of the IFF is a toxic reef called Bikini Atoll – a hybrid assemblage made from yarn and plastic garbage. Our challenge for the future – and the reason we have chosen to exhibit this work– is to help raise awareness of this plastic problem, an ecological cancer whose stain will mar our planet’s face for geological time.