Molecular Aesthetics

My most exciting moment in Sydney was pretty geeky.  My wanderings through the city took me to the NSW State Library (thanks for the tip Shelley!), to the bookshop (via a 2 hr stop in the library to investigate “60 Innovators: shaping our creative future” where I found THIS:IMG_20131203_152728 IMG_20131203_152749

The coolest thing about this book was its contents page – an pre-compiled set of course materials for me in my most exciting subject – science mixed with art.  It actually makes me smile with joy… I can’t stop smiling!!!

These names and phrases, typed into the wonderful web of knowledge that is the internet, is taking me on a crazy journey that leads off in so many different directions that it’s intoxicating.  Here are a few:

Joanna Aizenberg and the The Aizenberg Biomineralization and Biomimetics Lab:

I loved Joanna’s lecture at Harvard on “Natural Glass Houses in the Deep.  She moves smoothly from Ernest Haekel (one of my favourite artists) to chemical structures, to sea sponges (one of my favourite items to collect, gaze at and draw), to nature, to biomimicry, to 3D printing, to 3D modelling, to the structure of bones and shells (also favourite objects!). It feels so beautiful; a drawing-together of so many of my disparate interests into a coherent whole. :

This is amazing too:

This place has an artbase of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers as artwork.

This is "Boolean Nature" by Hugo Arcier, which I found on the artbase

This is “Boolean Nature” by Hugo Arcier, which I found on the artbase. have a conference…Right now, I feel like I have NEVER wanted to go anywhere more in my life than I want to go to this conference:

I mean, just look at what the subject matter is!!!


The Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference at the intersections of art, science and culture seeks papers that explore the theme of the cloud and molecular aesthetics.The third international conference on transdisciplinary imaging at the intersections of art, science and culture will focus on:

~ What is the new objectification of the imaged world around?

~ What are the aesthetic and artistic – the theoretical and the practical – implications of this new topography of data?

~ What alternative idioms exist to critically consider imagery and image making?

~ What is our contemporary understanding of clouding, assembly and camouflage in a post material age?

~ How does the cloud phenomenon precipitate thinking about new ways of curating, publishing and configuring modes of engagement?

The aim of the conference is to bring together artists, theorists, scholars, scientists, historians and curators. The conference invites papers that respond to the above provocation in areas related to: Painting, Drawing, Curating, Installation, Film, Video, Photography, Computer Visualization, Real-time Imaging, Intelligent Systems and Image Science.”

Next stop, Victoria Vesna, James Gimzewski and UCLA

Here’s a link to a promo for the UCLA Art|Science Centre & Lab

Victoria Vesna and her research partner found that the live cells they were studying were vibrating.  They took a digital file of the vibration pattern and converted it into a sound file, enabling them to ‘listen’ to live cells.

(The iridescent blue in butterfly wings has no pigment – it’s made up of nano-optics: textures and patterns)

They wanted to measure the vibrations of a chrysalis turning in to a butterfly, and to listen to the vibrations.

By throwing a laser on the chrysalis they could measure the vibrations of the metamorphosis over about 2 weeks. They realised that rather than being slow and gradual, change in the chrysalis happened in sudden bursts. The experiment became a piece of art; a metaphor for the drastic disruptive change going on in the world  wow – the sound! so haunting and spooky.

Victoria and James made zero@wavefunction


The Zero@wavefunction installation and interactivity is based on the way a nanoscientist manipulates an individual molecule (billions of times smaller than common human experience) projected on a monumental scale. When a person passes by, they cast a larger than life shadow on the molecule and activate responsive buckyballs. The visualizations are of buckyballs that respond via sensors to the movement of the person’s shadow and the possibility of manipulating the molecule emerges.

THIS is how the technology behind it works (hmm this pretty visualisation make it look so easy but I bet it is a little more complex in the background, maybe good for me who is just starting with the basics though!):



“The atoms and electrons in a rock are as subtle and alive as the ocean is.”

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