Momentum (detail), 2004

 Creaturepede 2004

 Momentum, 2004

 Atomic, 2004

Surface for air

Master of Philosphy graduation exhibition 2x4, Canberra School of art Gallery, Australian National University, 2004

For this series of three installation pieces entitled Surface for air, I flat-bed scanned a 3cm plastic centipede, manipulating it digitally to emulate electromagnetic microscopy technologies. I view this work as a precursor to my recent investigations into XTC imaging as seen in Nanoplastica.

My intention for this work was not to emulate scientific concepts but create a narrative in order to describe the way contemporary science has influenced the way we see our world. As in Italo Calvino’s book Cosmicomics, he describes evolution and complex scientific concepts though the experience of molecular characters, forming, moving and colliding in the expanse of space.

The first work, Creaturepede measures six-metres in length. Such a large digital print challenges the audience with a juxtaposition of scale between the micro and macro; as if looking through a powerful lens, it appears we come face-to-face with a giant organism inhabiting an invisible, microscopic world. 

The second piece Momentum  derives from the same centipede but it is intended to be a closer examination of the structure and energy of the object rather than a literal and static interpretation of the original. The creature’s head is repeated across four sections of 25 panels, each 31cm square, (100 panels in total). Each section is rotated by 90 degrees and the half tone is enlarged by ten percent on the photocopier to give the work momentum. Incrementally blowing up the half tone pattern and increasing the distance between columns of panels gives the illusion of getting closer to the material of the object. The viewers ability to focus on the detail depends upon their own position in the room, the work becoming increasingly kinetic as the surface starts to expand. Sprayed with fluorescent pink paint, the back of the panels reflect vividly of the white wall behind, making the work float on the surface.

The third and last installation Atomic continues the theme of enlargement and breaking down of matter into particles. Only contained in size by the extent of a large wall, this transient installation took its own course as it grew. Made up of three kinds of fluorescent coloured cards (110 mm2), this work is about trajectories and collisions; the tension culminating as the colours collide and intersect. The scale of the work takes the viewer through the surface of the object and beyond as we travel deeper into molecular space.