Abstract- Paul Thomas

Constructed Infinite Smallness

Our bodies penetrate the sofas upon which we sit, and the sofas penetrate our bodies. The motor bus rushes into the houses which it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the motor bus and are blended with it.[1]
This reference from the 1909 Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting reflects how at the turn of the century imaging technologies presented by scientists such as Etienne-Jules Marey were making the invisible visible and directly influencing artistic practice. Artists now working in the area of Nanotechnology are recontextualising the invisible worlds revealed initially through Mareys chronophotographs. It has been nearly a century since the first Futurist manifesto was written and the context of a technologically mediated imagined world is as relevant now as it was then. For this reason this paper will suggest ways of re-examining the art historical interests of representing science.
I wish to explore the genealogy of Nano imaging technologies by investigating the symbiotic relationship between imaging technologies such as an Atomic Force Microscope and arts evolution as a cornerstone of new media art history. Emergent imaging technologies are being used to explore the potential of a new spatial world order. However, these new technologies are generally based on an Old World order of spatiality. The basis for this paper resides in the Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni confrontation of Old World orders of spatiality via the representation the invisible made visible through science.
I will reference the development of the microscope in the extension of vision and its relation to contemporary art practice. The larger social issues of the relationship of art to Nanotechnology will be clarified through a discussion of my current research which has been developed in collaboration with SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia and Curtin Universities Nano Research Institute (NRI). This current work is an extension of my spatial focus through the exploration of the space between at a Nano level. The research focuses my investigations on the molecular particles that exist at the point of transition between the skin and gold. The data gathered at an atomic level is investigated to present what is transferred at the point where the materials of skin and gold make contact. Working at a molecular level, Nano images offer new ways of exploring spatiality that, while acknowledging the pervasive presence of perspective systems, also deconstruct or even map new post-perspective spatialities. Therefore, this research explores and extends principles of visualising and perceiving infinite smallness through Atomic Force Microscopes in unanticipated ways.
[1] Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carr, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/techpaint.html