Saturday, May 21, 2016

Week 8: Nanotech + Art

Nanobama: The world's smallest presidential portrait
When a president is quite literally under a microscope
Nanotechnology involves manipulating matter on a molecular scale. With nanotechnology came nanoart, which is an art discipline that features structures on a nanometer scale. Thus, is it still art even though you cannot see it with your own eyes? When nanotechnology and nanoart are involved, however, the phrase "seeing is believing" is not quite applicable because the scale is too abstract for our common understanding of vision and size. Nonetheless, through the use of already-existing devices, nanotechnology marks a new frontier for science and, consequently, art. 

U C Lots of Atoms
Although the products of nanotechnology cannot be seen with the naked eye, they have they potential to change our world. Researchers believe nanoparticles can be used to replace potentially carcinogenic ingredients currently used in the making of various cosmetic products, rendering makeup safer for public use. There has also been discussions about using these particles to make tennis balls last longer and to better understand the structure/development of human cancer cells. In artistic pursuits, scientists and artists can manipulate microscale particles to create works of art, such as spelling out words or create animated short films like A Boy and his Atom

MORPHONANO, an exhibition created by Professor Vesna and nanoscientist Jim Gimzewski
When preparing to blog about this week's topic, I decided to research more on Professor Vesna's art projects, and what I found was extremely interesting. In collaboration with our guest lecturer and nanoscientist Jim Gimzewski, Professor Vesna currently has an exhibition at the Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine that brings nanotechnology to a scale where humans can interact and better understand it. With the help of existing science and technology, nanoart, then, marks the transition of art from being a purely visual, passive experience to a more connected, active experience. 

"A Boy and his Atom." Wikipedia. Web. 
Gimzewski, Jim and Vesna, Victoria. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science." Web. 
Gimzewski, Jim. "Nanotech for Artists pt. 1-6." Lecture. Web. 
"MORPHONANO." Beall Center for Art + Technology. Web. 
Producer. "Scientists are becoming artists, thanks to 'Nanoart.'" Arts, Culture, and Media. Web. 
Vesna, Victoria. "Nanotech Intro." Lecture. Web. 


  1. I agree with your point, and via reading your blog, I became interested in those art projects by Prof. Vesna; and as you mentioned, I totally agree that nanotechnology has opened a totally new experience.

  2. I love that you brought up Professor Vesna's exhibit at UCI - I have a friend who mentioned visiting it recently and she said it was very informative, especially for those coming from a less scientific background. Fascinating!