Tuesday, 6 June 2017


a morning of printing more images that explore projections - trying to make the two colours work together is a challenge alongside looking at some more complex tessellation and symmetrical patterns. The poster looks good as well as explaining some of the ideas behind the work. Combining art and science concepts is a challenge but talking about the work from two places enables a third to emerge.

text for poster with clarity from Duncan 
unfolding thinking
As part of a residency with the Nano Doctorial Training Centre I have been exploring concepts of structure in materials down to the atomic scale and creating artwork inspired by the practicalities of revealing nanoscale structure using electron microscopy.
I encountered the idea of using the scattering electrons to obtain evidence of nanoscale structure in a material within an introductory practical held for first year NanoDTC students looking at the interpretation of electron diffraction patterns and images, acquired using a transmission electron microscope.
Initially, I was interested in the use of symmetry within crystallography as a tool for defining, for creating a taxonomy for atomic structure. But the mapping of a structure to a measurable signal, a diffraction pattern or image, captured my interest with the idea that physical laws provide a route to determine an unknown structure by obtaining evidence of its existence in these signals.
It is a system which attempts to reveal an unknown from a series of knowns. I have taken this idea and turned it on its head by using a known to make unknowns.
During the residency, I have developed a series of articulated handheld hinged structures. These are derived from what I call 'laboratory choreography'. Whilst attending practical demonstrations I had the sensation of my mind slightly drifting as yet another truly extraordinary piece of information was imparted but which I was unable to fully comprehend.  In an attempt to grasp an understanding I started to watch the hands of the demonstrator, there was an urgency as they used every facility they had to communicate. This space of not knowing appeared to enable a thought, to explore how whilst in the lab scientific concepts and lab processes are communicated through subconscious hand gestures.
I have been mapping the hand gestures within the lab that are created whilst explaining scientific processes and creating structures that represented these movements. These structures represent the knowns, something tangible that I grasped as an entry to understanding.
With spray paint standing in for electrons I have used these known forms as a masking tool to make fragmented images that are now unknown but have a sense of having to be remade or reconstructed in the mind. This is the essence of the challenge addressed in tomographic reconstruction where a 3D object is remade from a series of 2D images or projections, the ambiguity in the structure that produces each individual projection creating a “projection problem”.
I see these images and the process I have created as an entry point into understanding the challenges in relating a structure to the signal created by probing it and how translation can be used to make the invisible visible and the complex understandable.

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