Cosmic planes crocheted by Cornell professor

The craft and textile arts of crochet have combined with advanced geometry, information technology and social entrepreneurship at the contemporary arts center “kim?” at the Spīķeri warehouse district. Here since October 3 visitors can view the works of Daina Taimiņa and her multiple disciples in yarn.

Crocheted mathematics – that’s how Cornell University professor Daina Taimiņa refers to her intricate and fascinating creations. This cosmically crafty Latvian’s crocheted objects are a household synthesis of geometry and art she began developing seventeen years ago as a model to help students learn hyperbolic geometry.

Taimiņa, who emigrated to the United States in 1990 from her homeland of Latvia, has garnered attention and acclaim around the world for her unique pedagogically effective "physical models of hyperbolic space", says the Institute for Figuring.

“The idea is to show that geometry is beautiful. You’d agree, no?” – thus Daina Taimiņa begins her tale of these works of crocheted hyperbolic planes. And each one with its singular web of colors and vectors, shapes and sectors allows the viewer to fantasize personalized forms transfiguring from deep-sea creatures to mushrooms to exotic flowers.

 “Mathematically this form appears in nature wherever there is need to take on nutrient substances or light through a surface. Some biologists who just attended my exhibit confirmed that such forms are in our intestinal microflora,” she went on.

“You see it in seaweeds close to the ocean floor, as they grow higher to reach for the sunlight” she cited another example.

Taimiņa remembers being frustrated by the overly abstract mode of having to learn hyperbolic geometry herself and feeling challenged to work out a solution, hooking upon the fringe hobby as a brilliant one at that.

Since then her art-math method-path has taken her to run seminars and stage shows like the one organized here with interdisciplinary media arts pioneers RIXC.  It will run until November 9.

The pieces on display in Riga were made with the assistance of over a hundred volunteer crochet practitioners from all of Latvia on the condition that they work in strictly white-colored media.

“We put all of these works together to show that as one we can create the whiteness that allows us to brighten up the grey tones of the daily grind,” she reveals.

Here is her TEDx Riga speech below!

 

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