Victoria Vesna & Jim Gimzewski: Blue Morph

Blue Morph by Victoria Vesna and nanoscientist Jim Gimzewski, is an interactive installation that uses nanoscale images and sounds derived from the metamorphosis of the Blue Morpho butterfly presented in historic St. Cornelius Chapel

Victoria Vesna & Jim Gimzewski: Blue Morph

Wave(form)s – an Exhibition of Electronic Art on Governors Island
May 27 through September 25, 2011
Fridays, 11am to 4:30pm
Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 5pm

Governor’s Island
Free ferry service from Manhattan and Brooklyn:

Nanotechnology is changing our perception of life and this is symbolic in the Blue Morpho butterfly with the optics involved — that beautiful blue color is not pigment at all but nano-photonic patterns and structure. The optics are fascinating but the real surprise is in the discovery of the way cellular change takes place in a butterfly. Sounds of metamorphosis are not gradual but rather the cellular transformation happens in sudden surges that are broken up with stillness and silence. Nano is not only making the invisible visible but also changing our way of relating to “silence” or making the in-audible audible. With all the noise of chattering technologies and minds, we propose the interactivity to be stillness for in this empty space of nano we can get in touch with the magic of continuous change. The piece fully emerges in sound and pattern only when the participant is STILL and SILENT.

Surround sound: Paul Geluso, Sound processing: Gil Kuno, Interactivity: Paul Geluso, Tyler Adams, Miu Ling, Danaus plexippus chrysalis recording: Andrew Pelling and Paul Wilkinson, Interactive seat construction: Romie Littrell, Knitted morph hat: Silvia Rigon
Installation Designa and Coordination: Aliki Potiris, Interns: Caitlin Morris, Nick Engel, Aliza Simons
Butterfly wing imaging: Marc Castagna, Senior Application Engineer, SEM operator. Thanks to Don Kenia, CEO of FEI Corp. for permission to use the Scanning Electron Microscope.
Morpho peleides and Danaus plexippus wings and pupa provided by Dr. Richard Stringer Department of Math, Science and Allied Health, Harrisburg Area Community College.
More information about the Blue Morph:

Victoria Vesna and James Gimzewski have been collaborating since 2001 and, in the decade they worked together, produced a number of important works that address how nanotechnology is influencing our relationship to reality. They are both professors at UCLA where they co-direct the Art | Sci center at the School of the Arts and the California Nanosystems Institute.

Dr. Victoria Vesna is a media artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci center at the School of the Arts and California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). She is currently a Visiting Professor and Director of Research at Parsons Art, Media + Technology, the New School for Design in New York and a senior researcher at IMéRA – Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées in Marseille, France and Artist in Residence at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol. Her work can be defined as experimental creative research that resides between disciplines and technologies. With her installations she explores how communication technologies affect collective behavior and how perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. Victoria has exhibited her work in over twenty solo exhibitions, more than seventy group shows, has been published in excess of twenty papers and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is the North American editor of AI & Society and in 2007 published an edited volume – Database Aesthetics: Art in the age of Information Overflow, Minnesota Press. Just published is a new book she co-edited with Christiane Paul and Margot Lovejoy — Context Providers: Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts. Edited with Intellect Press, 2011. Victoria holds a Ph.D. from the Centre of Advanced Inquiry in the Arts, University of Wales, UK.

Dr. Gimzewski is a professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles and member of the California NanoSystems Institute. Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, he was a group leader at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, where he research in nanoscale science and technology for more than 18 years. Dr. Gimzewski pioneered research on mechanical and electrical contacts with single atoms and molecules using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and was one of the first persons to image molecules with STM. His accomplishments include the first STM-based fabrication of molecular superstructures at room temperature using mechanical forces to push molecules across surfaces, the discovery of single molecule rotors and the development of new micromechanical sensors based on nanotechnology, which explore ultimate limits of sensitivity and measurement. This approach was recently used to convert biochemical recognition into Nanomechanics. His current interests are in the nanomechanics and elasticity of cells and bacteria where he collaborates with the UCLA Medical and Dental Schools. He is involved in projects that range from the operation of X-rays, ions and nuclear fusion using pyroelectric crystals and single molecule DNA profiling. Dr. Gimzewski is involved in numerous art-science collaborative projects that have been exhibited in museums throughout the world. Amongst many honors and awards he is a Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS, has honorus causus doctorates in France and the UK and was voted a Wired 20. A Harvestworks Sponsored Project partially funded by the David Berman Foundation and the California Nanosystems Institute.

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