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In the Land of the Lilliputian

In the Land of the Lilliputian: Artists Visualize the Very Small

July 1 - September 24, 2006 in the Seeing Gallery

It is exceedingly difficult to visualize the world at a “nano” level—to conjure images of the shapes of atoms and the movement of molecules. In reality, there is so much space between atoms in a seemingly-solid surface that it’s hard to believe that they are part of the same object. But new tools have allowed us intriguing glimpses of this infinitesimal world—and the artists whose work appears in this exhibition have attempted to visualize these foreign yet ubiquitous worlds.

200 Nanowebbers
by Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt)
For 200 Nanowebbers, Semiconductor have created a molecular web generated by Double Adaptor’s soundtrack. Rhythms and melodies spawn a nanoscale environment shifting and contorting to sound. Layers of energetic hand-drawn animations play over the vector shapes forming atomic-scale associations. As the landscape flickers into existence by the light of trapped electrons, substructures resembling crystalline solids begin to take shape.

Zero@wavefunction
by Victoria Vesna in collaboration with James Gimzewski;
software art by Josh Nimoy
The interactivity of Zero@wavefunction is based on the way nanoscientists manipulate individual molecules billions of times smaller than common human experience by projecting them at monumental scales. Visitors cast larger-than-life shadows on molecules and activate responsive “buckyballs,” revealing the possibility of using one’s body to manipulate the miniscule.


Nanoscape programs are funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Additional funding by San Francisco Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund.

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