Friday Field Trip::Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef DC

by heatherkp

Today’s post is going to be short on words and heavy on photo’s.  “To briefly summarize The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef (HCCR) is a project of the Institute For Figuring (IFF), a Los Angeles based non-profit educational organization whose mission is to develop creative new ways to engage the public with science, mathematics and the technical arts.”- IFF & HCCR  Hyperbolic geometry is creatively modeled by the forms created through crochet.

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.” by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim

Demonstrations of crochet are on display during exhibit hours.

This ongoing project has had over 10 exhibits worldwide with one of the most recent and current exhibits on view now at the Sant Ocean Hall, Focus Gallery, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History with contributions from over 850 participants who collaborated in crochet and assembling this coral reef.  Another exhibit also currently on view is The Bleached Reef at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (NYC, NY).  Each coral reef exhibit is a unique installation with different contributing artist and different themes.

If you or your kids are fans of the spectacular wonders of the underwater world I would highly recommend you take a visit.  One of the fascinating things about the exhibit is the unique materials that individual contributors used.  The majority was certainly various types of yarn but I also spotted recycled plastic bags, wire, beads, VHS and cassette tape, plastic zip ties and various other materials.  I’m sure you could make a game of “I SPY” at the exhibit to identify more variety of materials.

I loved the way they arranged this exhibit in colors that spanned the rainbow.  It seemed that every color and perhaps color combination were represented.  The forms range from super realistic replicas of coral formations to shapes that are beyond the wildest imagination and look to be straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

While we are on the subject of coral reefs I recently got to see the short film “The Coral Gardener”.  The purpose of this exhibit and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is to educate and bring awareness to the world’s disappearing reefs.  Did you know that coral can be propagated like a plant and cuttings can be taken and “rooted” to replant the reef?  This award winning short film shows how scientists and volunteers in Fiji are doing this.  If you get a chance to see it, it’s a truly a sign of hope for the worlds reefs.  I hope you will get a chance to view one of these spectacular exhibits yourself!

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2 Comments to “Friday Field Trip::Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef DC”

  1. Great write-up. I am also a docent and contributor to the Smithsonian reef. It has been a great experience

    • Thank you Andrea. I’ve been to see the reef on 3 occasions now and will probably make it down 1 more time before it closes. It’s truly a fascinating exhibit and Nat. History is my Favorite Smithsonian museum!

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