The original idea was to create 3D objects that would visualise hyperbolic planes, Daina Taimiņa explained. “Natural shapes are hard to imagine if all you have is formulas, and I have come to believe that crocheted shapes with stripes in different colours can show a hyperbolic plane the best,” she said.
“I thank the “Riga 2014” foundation for supporting the project,” emphasised the head of the project Rasa Šmite, adding that the exhibition would not only showcase crocheted sculptures – a map showing the network of crocheting enthusiasts would be created by a team led by artist Valdis Krebs to demonstrate the development of Daina Taimiņa’s social network for crocheting hyperbolic planes, as more than a hundred residents of Latvia participated in the crocheting campaign to help create the “White Cloud”, showcased in the first room of the exhibition hall, and one exhibit has travelled to Latvia from Italy.
Rasa Šmite emphasised that there was a meaning to the name of the exhibition: “Speaking of sustainability, social networks and relations are very important to us – the way information was communicated among the people involved in the crocheting project, how they informed each other about it, how they met.” The theme of ecology is equally important, believes Rasa Šmite, and for this reason recyclable materials were used extensively in the project – a total of 20 white T-shirts were used to create the artwork. “But the most important is the approach to the idea of sustainability, using such technique as crocheting in order to explain complex phenomena in the language of art and mathematics. As a lady from the rural Lizums put it, she and the other knitters were very excited to finally crochet something modern.”
According to Daina Taimiņa, this is also a social project as members of the Riga Society of the Blind “Strazdumuiža” were also involved in the creation of the “White Cloud” project, and they were very happy to have this chance as they had never participated in a social project before. “To me, it was very important that these people, who are exactly the same as other people, were involved in the project together with everybody else.” As the project was being created, people were urged to find white yarn around them – by taking apart, transforming the materials they had at hand, not buying new ones. The process started already in January and is still continuing, she added.
The “kim?” Contemporary Art Centre also showcases a work by Daina Taimiņa that was included in 2013 Guinness World Records book – the world’s largest hyperbolic plane that took the mathematician and artist several years to make – and seven kilometres of pink yarn.
Daina Taimiņa started crocheting hyperbolic planes in 1997 to show her students in America those aspects of geometry that were often counterintuitive. “Of course, you can also make planes of paper, but such planes will be fragile. The first models I crocheted can still be used,” said DainaTaimiņa.
Director of the “Riga 2014” foundation, Diāna Čivle said that she considered the wish to delve into something new, explore, and learn to be the most sustainable part of the project. “I believe it is very important, and that’s what we try to achieve in all the “Riga 2014” projects by involving people who may seem to not be associated with a given project in any way. In this case, it was the knitters who love handicraft, but the moment they understood Daina Taimiņa’s mathematical ideas, there was synergy between mathematics, science, culture, art, and handicraft. This is the most important part of the project, as that is what makes it sustainable,” said Diāna Čivle, indicating that such projects bring together things that would otherwise not go together.
It needs to be added that for the entire period the exhibition is on show, on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of October, Daina Taimiņa invites exhibition visitors to evenings of tea and crocheting at 5 p.m. And on the 11th of October, children are invited to an excursion into mathematics and hyperbolic planes. During the lecture, children will be offered to make their versions of hyperbolic planes of paper.