From Jan-June 2022, the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science, an exhibition exploring unexpected and under-explored interweavings between the fiber arts and the domains of science and mathematics. A centerpiece of the show is the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, made by 200+ crafters across NY state and beyond. Crochet Coral Reef creators Christine and Margaret Wertheim hail this vital, enchanting, entangling of art, craft, and STEM.
As Tang curators write of their show: “Humans first developed string—drawn and twisted plant or animal fiber—more than 120,000 years ago. Since then, we have learned to knot, weave, knit, crochet, and stitch, developing societies that fish, hunt, build shelter, wear clothing, carry objects large and small, and complete all manner of tasks thanks to the technology of strings. These world-changing innovations have become so embedded in our everyday lives that we hardly recognize them—yet fiber as a material and its associated techniques continue to catalyze advancements across fields as diverse as digital technology, mathematics, neuroscience, chemistry, and many others.
Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science presents historical objects and contemporary art, including mathematical models, research-driven visual artwork, patented innovations, and more, by makers such as artists, mathematicians, psychologists, hobby crafters, chemists, designers, and researchers. Loosely organized into stories about community, shape, machine, body, and, brain, their work complicates established categories: each can be understood simultaneously as fine art, process-driven craft, and scientific tool. Radical Fiber demonstrates they value of cross-disciplinary and collaborative thinking, emphasizing how artists change the way we experience and think about the world.”