Monday, October 12, 2009

Margaret Wertheim Blows My Mind.

Wow. I just checked out a youtube video (thanks, Cora!) of a TED talk by artist/science writer Margaret Wertheim that absolutely blew my mind (I know it's 16 minutes long, but you will not regret listening to her):

What she's working on is such a beautiful illustration of the power of interdisciplinary thinking: her work involves elements of math, marine biology, feminine handicraft, environmental activism, and community-based art.

And, returning to the idea of tactility: I just want to touch this work! Her giant crocheted coral reef structures are beautiful. It seems like the scale (in relation to your body) is an important aspect of this work-- it's almost frustrating for me to engage with this work through images on a screen.

Near the end of her talk, she touches on an angle of play that I hadn't yet considered: (Beth, if you haven't seen this yet, I hope you will--I think you'll find this part really compelling) she explains that through "plastic forms of play, people can be engaged with abstract, high-powered theoretical ideas."


  1. I cannot express how important it is for me to be able to touch other peoples artwork. I was talking to Caro about this the other day, and how sometimes I will be in a museum and be like "OMG IT LOOKS SO COOOOL I WANT TO TOUCH THE PAINT" whenever i go to a fellow artist's home, I feel so lucky to be able to touch their work (like at Vanessa's house with all the fiber work!). as an artist, touching helps me understand better how the work was made. I can see how thickly paint is applied and can tell it was with a pallet knife but to be able to just feel the different layers really helps me as an artist to get inside the picture and imagine myself making it.


    it really does lend itself to tactility - i felt myself being compelled to dig out my crochet hooks and play around as she was speaking.

    i am always attracted to things made of other things, too - which i think nails your topic of the physical/real. i just read something about red bull's "the art of the can" show, making all sorts of things out of cans. different than this, but still make me want to touch them and figure out how they put them together.

  3. Amazing. and inspiring. Thanks, Tina...