Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 8

     The relationship of art to nanotechnology is two-fold. On the one hand, science fiction authors and artists have created an astounding volume of work speculating on the role nanotechnology may one day play in our lives (oftentimes these depictions are negative, reflecting perhaps a collective public fear of the technology). This representation of nanotechnology in the media is what Gimzewski and Vesna refer to as the "nanomeme."

The concept of evil nanobots with the capacity to kill humans has come up again and again in science fiction.
On the other hand, nanotechnology itself can be used to create art. For example, Nanp-scape, an art installation by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau that allows users to "touch" nanoparticles (Art.base). Additionally, IBM has used nanotechnology to create the "world's smallest animation," where individual atoms were manipulated to create a video entitled 'A Boy and his Atom' (Anthony).

Ultimately, nanotechnology isn't itself inherently positive or negative, but rather exists as a tool in a collective global context. As Jim Gimzewski points out, nanoparticles are added to food products in ways that may or may not be harmful, and that we have current little understanding of. That being said, nanotechnology does have astounding medical applications, and may be instrumental in new forms of cancer treatment (Conger). Even in the arts there is a schism of sorts, with some artists using nanotechnology to speculate on disastrous or dystopian futures, and others using nanotechnology itself in order to create art.

A bucky ball surrounding the earth - a reflection of the way that, for the better or not, nanotechnology has taken the world by storm.
Laguna Design.

Anthony, Sebastian. "IBM creates world’s smallest movie with a handful of precisely placed atoms."
     Extreme Tech. 1 May 2013. Web.
"Art in the Age of Nanotechnology." Art.base. 11 March 2010. Web.
Conger, Krista. "Small wonder: How nanotechnology could detect and treat cancer." Stanford.
     17 May 2016.
Gimzewski, Jim. "Nanotech for Artists." 21 May 2012. DESMA 9. UCLA. Web.
Gimzewski, Jim and Vesna, Victoria. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the
     construction of a new science."

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