The Midas Touch: Nanotechnology


This weeks reading revolved around physical science and how some artists were involved with the abstract and philosophical areas of the scientific unknown.  For example, the furthest reaches of dark space, the composition by the smallest scale, etc.  Even though not all artists have the same goal as scientists to explore the unexplored reaches of nature, it is interesting to see  how they use advanced scientific methods for their art pieces.

The Midas Touch is one of those art pieces that utilizes nanotechnology.  It was displayed in both the Enter 3 Exhibition Unsafe Distance Prague in 2007 and at Sk-interfaces FACT (Foundation for the Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, UK.  It was coordinated by Dr. Paul Thomas, who works at Curtin University of Technology.

The purpose of this project was to focus on the particles that existed between the finger and the gold particles.  The “gold” itself is a gold cantilever that interacts with the person interacting with it.  Then there is a laser beam that bounces off the cantilever and onto a photo diode (boundary between the two regions), which records information and is projected onto the screen.  The laser also records the vibration of atoms in between the two surfaces (your skin and the gold) and makes it louder.  Since the cantilever is an uneven surface with rough texture, each region or area will produce a different visual and audio reaction.  Some places it will emit a higher pitch, while other places it will have a low booming sound.

Dr Paul Thomas, explains his project as a different perspective upon the world.  The colorful image on the projection changes depending on the nano-level of touch.  Through the use of nanotechnology, he emphasizes how we might change our perspective of senses.  Instead of looking at animals as a whole, we might see them as a swirl of atoms and particles.  We might see bio organic matter down to molecular scale and see their relation to each other.  And in turn, we can turn to ourselves and see how our own bodies interact with nano-size molecules.

Im also interested in the way our bodies and our interface our bodies have in the world are being de-territorialized by nanotechnology, and the construction of an almost immune system needs to be developed in relation to ourselves.. in connection to the outer world, in other words where does our body end in the nano-level? -Paul Thomas

It’s interesting how through the use of something so seemingly insignificant and minuscule we begin to question the spatial boundaries of our senses within the nano-level and how it can affect ourselves within this digital era (that we concurrently live in).

Elliot Yang


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