ART AND ATOMS: FISSION AND FUSION
In 2011 we will celebrate the International Year of Chemistry. We plan
to hold a number of YASMIN discussions over the next two years that
adress Artists and Atoms: the ways that artists engage with the
science and technology of atoms. Organic chemistry, with its
connections to living systems and modern biology is often addressed by
artists, but inorganic chemistry and nuclear processes such as fusion
and fission are rarely featured in cultural contexts. Nuclear Energy,
both fission and fusion, are in the public eye again as our societies
seek to find sustainable and alternative energy sources. In the Haute
Provence, France the new ITER project is being established. ITER is a
joint international research and development project that aims to
demonstrate the technical feasibility of fusion power.
In this discussion we are interested in discussing the ways in which
the arts and humanities are engaging with nuclear energy, and the
cultural context of nuclear fusion and fission. We include both
peaceful and military uses of nuclear energy, as well as use of
radio-isotopes in medecine and natural radio activity. We are interested
in historical examples from the 50s and 60s as well as the engagement
of artists, science historians and other researchers today.
Questions that can be discussed include:
1) What are examples of artists projects that engage with nuclear
fission and fusion ?
2) What is a cultural history of nuclear fusion and fission ?
3) How have expressed ideas, sensations or intuitions about atoms and
nuclear phenomena in their art.
4)What modifications of perception took place in their creative
process? What sensorial and experiential environments did they
5)What are examples of instrumental languages and systems they developed ?
6)How do artists engage with worlds and pheonemena at very different
scales than every day experience, or with phenomena that have no
counterparts in everyday life or sensory experience.
Moderators: Roger Malina, Guillermo Munoz
Roger Malina is an astronomer currently running the Observatoire
Astronomique de Marseille Provence, and Executive of the Leonardo
Publications at MIT Press. He is co chair of
Wing of the new IMERA Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies.
His PhD work was on
white dwarf stars which are the atomic residue left of the core of a
star after it has finished
burning through atomic fusion.
Guillermo Muñoz is a physicist working on the field of Nanotechnology
at Material Sciencie Institute of Valencia University. His currently
research covers high time and space resolution optical spectroscopy
over semiconductor quantum dots and wires. He is part of "Piratas de
la Ciencia" science communication group, based at Valencia (Spain).
W. Patrick McCray is a Professor in the History Department at the University
of California, Santa Barbara and a research group leader at the NSF-funded
Center for Nanotechnology in Society..He has published books such as Giant
Telescopes: Astronomical Ambition and the Promise of Technology.
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004) and in 2008 by
Princeton University Press. Keep Watching the Skies: The Story of
Operation Moonwatch and the Dawn of the Space Age. He is currently
writing a new book that explores the history of various exploratory
technologies in the 1970s and 1980s including nanotechnology, fusion energy, and
Gabrielle Decamous is a visiting tutor and doctoral candidate in the
department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of
London. Her research focuses on the use of advanced technologies as
artistic de-territorialisations with a special interest in space and
nuclear technology. In 2005, she has been the recipient of the
International Hilla Rebay Fellowship and worked within the curatorial
departments of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums of New York, Bilbao,
and Venice. Decamous also lectured within the contemporary galleries
of the Museum of Modern Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New
York, focusing on the body and contemporary art.
Jean Pierre Dautricourt
Former director of the Camargo Foundation, an interdisciplinary
residential and cultural center. Member of the
Art-Science-Instrumentation-Language group (ASIL) group of the
Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMéRA) in Marseille.
Composer, performer, and sound technology researcher. Current
research interests include new sound transformations and
high-resolution audio over networks. 20 years as R&D professional in
music and media arts, biotechnology, visualization and knowledge
Has been exploring the boundaries between ecological art, research
biology and environmental education. An area of focus has been the
occurrence of developmental deformities and population decline in
amphibians. He has conducted field and laboratory investigations
throughout the Americas and in England and has attended several
artist/ researcher in residency programs. In 2003, he was an artist in
residence at the Natural History Museum in London and the Yorkshire
Sculpture Park in 2008 where he established a functioning amphibian
research laboratory open to the public and regularly conducted field
investigations with local participants. A lead authored paper will
appear next month in the Journal of Experimental Zoology on the
findings of his 2006-2008 English field and laboratory studies on
potential etiologies for deformities in British anurans. A
forthcoming book on his work with amphibians will debut in 2010
published by the Arts Catalyst, London England.
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The Discussion begins June 1 2009 and runs through the end of the month.
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