Thursday 15 April 2010

News From the Front

I’m writing this in the café of the Science Gallery at Trinity. I have some time to kill while I wait for a fetcher to get the papers I ordered so I decided to try the coffee here.

I wasn’t very complimentary about the Science Gallery the first time I visited and I still have mixed feelings about it. I really want to like it because I think it’s a good idea, but the level of interpretation continues to annoy me.

The current exhibition is called the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef. I actually first heard about this project when I was working in Cape Town. An artist at Greatmore Studios (where I volunteered) is involved in the project, which was set up by two Australian sisters but invites participants from all over the world. They’ve set out to crochet a reef while also demonstrating something called hyperbolic geometry. Apparently this is a special kind of geometry that crochet is very good at demonstrating. More than that, I can’t tell you, because the explanations are baffling, to say the least:

There were several of these figures, but no text or anything to explain just what the @£%& they mean. I love the idea of art and science combining, would love to know more about hyperbolic geometry, but am thwarted by lame ass efforts at explaining.

On the other hand, the crochet is super cool (and that’s not something I ever imagined saying about crochet):

Am I being too harsh? Am I just having a stupid day? Do these diagrams make sense to anyone else?

Oh, by the way, the photos are from my phone, which is why they're all a bit blurry. I’m telling you, this is real citizen journalism. And now I must finish my coffee and go back to the library.

PS The coffee is good.

PPS Am posting this from another library. Ssssh.


  1. I think they're trying to tell you that hyperbolic space is not something it's possible to explain with diagrams or words?
    If you want to understand hyperbolic space, look at the crochet barrier reef. See? Doesn't it all make sense?

  2. God, Eithne, hyperbolic n-space, denoted Hn, is the maximally symmetric, simply connected, n-dimensional Riemannian manifold with constant sectional curvature −1.

    How did you not know that??