Thursday, June 11, 2020

Metabolic Studio's Interdependence Salon #4 - Margaret and Christine Wertheim

Originally streamed Thursday May 14th at 1 pm PST 

Host: Doug Harvey 

Guests: Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim 

The Crochet Coral Reef is a project by Australian-born twin-sisters Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles based Institute For Figuring. Responding to anthropogenic crisis, the work simulates living reefs using techniques of crochet to mimic in yarn the curling crenelated forms of actual reef organisms. Corals and other frilly reef creatures are biological manifestations of “hyperbolic” geometry. Through an unlikely fusion of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and collective art practice, the Wertheims and their contributors produce large-scale coralline landscapes both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, fantastical, worldly and dispersed, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a beautiful impassioned response to dual calamities devastating marine life: climate change and plastic trash. 

TED Talk about the Reef

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer, artist and curator whose work focuses on relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. Her work is animated by a propositio that science is a field of conceptual enchantment, and a socially embedded activity with political and communal consequences. The author of six books, including The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace and Physics on the Fringe, she has written for the New York Times, The Guardian, Cabinet, Aeon and many others. Margaret and her sister Christine are founders of the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles-based practice devoted to the aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. The sisters have created exhibits for the Hayward Gallery (London), Science Gallery (Dublin), Mass MOCA (MA), and Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles). Their Crochet Coral Reef – a worldwide participatory project in which thousands of women collectively crochet coral reefs as a response to climate change – has been shown at the 2019 Venice Biennale, Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Deutsches Museum (Munich), the Smithsonian, and elsewhere. Margaret has worked on all seven continents and stood on the South Pole. For her work as a science communicator she has won the annual award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, and Australia’s Scientia Medal.

Christine Wertheim is a poet, performer, artist, critic, curator and collaborator. She has authored and edited eight books including three poetic suites – The Book of Me, mUtter-bAbel and +|’me’S-pace – and three literary anthologies, among them Feminaissance and The n/Oulipean Analects. Her poetic work fuses graphics and text to explore the potentialities of the English tongue and the relationships between suppressed infantile rage and global violence. Christine has a Phd. in literature and semiotics, and is a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, in the Department of Critical Studies where she teaches courses on art+feminisim, pataphysics, nonsense, and rubbish. She was formerly director of the Calarts MFA Writing Program and has written for many magazines including X-TRA and Jacket. She is co-director of the Institute For Figuring; and, with her sister Margaret Wertheim, co-creator of the Crochet Coral Reef project.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller 

A declaration of interdependence must be followed by a practice of interdependence. Achieving this interdependence takes both seeing and doing, both vision and action. A new collective vision is needed, centered and prioritized around the common good and community. As we live through these uncertain times, we hope as a community to collectively support one another and share our knowledge and voices. Please join us every Thursday at 1pm PST for a series of Interdependence Salons virtually on Zoom as we take inspiration this season from Buckminster Fuller’s 1976 Bicentennial Declaration of Interdependence. Metabolic Studio will be hosting special invited guests discussing their work in this new reality we are facing.

Metabolic Studio explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web.

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