The DNA of Macramé
I've been wanting to write about DNA for a while, but haven't found exactly the right angle. So much is aligned with it. There's something seemingly innately cosmic or esoteric about it, and there are many possible reasons why, from the obvious and logical, to the mystical and outlandish.
After reading Sergi Cortinas Rovira's the article, Metaphors of DNA: A Review of the Popularisation Processes ,taken from his PhD thesis, I realized the reason for the innate cosmic and esotericness might be due to the way the discovery and continued presentation of DNA has been accompanied by notions and words that easily fall into, well, the cosmic and esoteric.
As Rovira points out, Crick and Watson introduced DNA publicly by asserting the "secret of life" has been found; Rovira also notes that the words secret, code, decipher, and decode have been associated with the presentation of DNA from the very beginning. With the huge popularity of books like The Da Vinci Code in a mainstream audience, it's clear these are great ideas to take to market.
And what of Crick's psychedelic original vision of the DNA structure? Well, I recently had an experience that had me considering psychedelic aesthetics and DNA. I've written in a recent Medusa's Ladder about my exploration of crafting magazines and books; recently, at the bookstore, I pulled a macramé book off the shelf with a title something like, "Totally Contemporary Macramé."
After flipping though it, I realized even if you fashion fabulous material into an iPod case, or Nalgene cozy, macramé is macramé. And it doesn't look totally contemporary, it looks like it belongs holding a fern in the window of Rhoda Morgernstern's apartment. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Although I didn't get into that book, I did check out a book from the library called Hemp Masters: Ancient Hippie Secrets for Knotting Hip Hemp Jewelry hoping to learn some basic knots, which, it turns out, are macramé. I am not very good at translating written and visual diagrams like the ones in the book, so I decided to find the most basic step in making the most basic knot, and start trying it hands-on, to get the feel of it on my own terms.
Sources and further reading:
Sergi Cortinas Rovira, Journal of Science Communication
Jeremy Narby's fascinating book, The Cosmic Serpent