By Guillermo Muñoz
Last Sunday was the Open House, an important date for our Scientific Delirium Madness residence. It was exciting to see the work of our colleagues, and the fruitful collaborations. Here I would like to present one of the collaborations that I’ve tried to carry out for the last two weeks. This is a video concerning exploration, relating to some nanotechnological concepts. From my point of view, exploration is an experience connected to both art and science. Here, exploration arises in many ways. As I said in a previous post, my impression when I arrived to Djerassi is that it would be good to start a work on nature. And this was what I did. I took an old idea from a past work, where I had mixed cave paintings with nanotechnological concepts. So, first of all I needed to find a rocky wall around the Djerassi landscape. With the help of Tom Shean, I found the correct one: the Solstice Cave made by Mel Henderson in 1986. I liked the idea to work with the art piece from a past residence. So, with the help of my colleagues Luca, Deborah and Eathan, we arranged an expedition to record the sounds from the cave and the videos of the exploration itself. After the exploration, we started an incredible history of collaborations, to make the final edition of this video. I was helped through interesting questions by Allison Cobb and Eleni Sikelianos. I was inspired by a fabulous piano concert in 4 sections by Eathan. And Caroline Wellbery made interesting suggestions for the edition and helped with the English. Luca made a great sound composition from our visit to the cave, and finally Eathan, Caroline and Allison put their voices to a child tale. My purpose with the video was to put me on the other side (art), to understand the methods, the complexity and the difficulties. And, yes, there are many. Regardless of the final result, this has been an adventure for me, and it has helped me to understand by myself the power of the audiovisual communication, the importance of the poetry for science (to make interesting questions), and the difficulties in art to perform a powerful and suggestive material. But, at the same time, this has helped me to make a short list of the main ideas that come from Nanotechnology. In the first sequence, Nanoscales, I used the video film of the exploration to the cave, trying to reduce it as much as possible, in order to condense all the time that we spent in just a few seconds. Visualization of the scales is always a problem, and art could help to do it. In the second sequence, Nano-Approaches, I drew on the experience to enter into a cave to understand the two different approaches used to build nanotechnological systems (Bottom-Up or Top-Down). I understood that there is a symmetry between both approaches (just the C2 symmetry group described by a 180º rotation). A gecko walking along a wall serves me to situate the axis of the rotational symmetry, as gecko can walk around walls upwards or downwards. The third one, Nano Myths, is a composition of videos from general culture, usually used to explain basic ideas in nanotechnology. But these examples are so recurrent that, in some way, they are composing a kind of nano myths (icons). Finally, I wrote a small tale, connecting the words nano and dwarf, since it is well known that nanotechnology is not only related to very small scales, but to the strange effects that arise on these small scales. This was a multi collaboration process that came up here. As my colleague Luca said to me, what matters is the process, and in this case the process was just and art/science exploration. Thank you all for your help and participation, it was fun !! You can see the video here, and access to a more developed explanation here (in Spanish).