Tara O’Brien, “Cohere”
Artist: Tara O’Brien (Philadelphia PA)
Title: Cohere (2012)
Medium/technique(s): Inkjet print and crochet
Edition size: 3
Number of pages: 16
Dimensions, open: 12.5 x 19 x 3″
Dimensions, closed: 12.5 x 9.5 x 3/4″
In 1997, Daina Taimina crocheted a model of hyperbolic space. It was the first truly useable model to examine mathematical theories diverging from Euclidean geometry in three centuries of study. Taimina was uniquely situated to solve this dilemma. Trained in mathematics and computer science in her native Latvia, she grew up with the strong tradition of handcrafts of knitting and crocheting. In Cohere I narrate the train of thought from this tradition to the development of the highly conceptual idea of hyperbolic space and how to represent that concept physically. The hands hold a special place of honor as the tools that form the learning and understanding.
On a backdrop of intense black, the vastness of the universe, a pair of hands stretch chains of crochet between them. It begins as a simple chain, soon incorporating fresh water pearls, pearls of wisdom, continuing through more complex crochet patterns until ultimately a parabolic sphere is suspended between fingertips and the word cohere is chained onto the page. Cohere, to be naturally or logically connected, brings the hands and mind together to formulate ideas, hypothesis, and knowledge. As book artists push the boundaries of what a book is and what it can be, we use our hands to create new meaning and possibilities for what we traditionally call, a book.