2014 Biennial
Image: Jenny Sabin 

2014 BIENNIAL: Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology

A campuswide exhibition in Fall 2014 explored the cultural and human consequences of seeing the world at the micro and macro levels, through nanoscience and networked communications.

From Sept. 15 to Dec. 22, the 2014 Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial, “Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology,” featured several events and principal projects by faculty and student investigators and guest artist-in-residence kimsooja working in collaboration with Cornell scientists and researchers. Others artists examining the material and culture of nano science included in the exhibtion are Paul Thomas and *particle group* collective with Ricardo Dominguez, Diane Ludin, Amy Sara Carroll (Cornell MFA '95) and Nina Walsman.

The inaugural biennial theme was chosen to frame dynamic changes in 21st-century culture and art practice, and in nanoscale technology. The multidisciplinary initiative intends to engage students, faculty and the community in demonstrations of how radical shifts in scale have become commonplace, and how artists address realms of human experience lying beyond immediate sensory perception.

The Biennial focus brings together artists and scientists who share a common curiosity regarding the position of the individual within the larger world, CCA Director Stephanie Owens said.

“Scientists are suddenly designers creating new forms,” she said. “And artists are increasingly interested in how things are structured, down to the biological level. Both are designing and discovering new ways of synthesizing natural properties of the material world with the fabricated experiences that extend and express the impact of these properties on our lives...Today, art practice is a convergence of many disciplines – which, rather than dilute the experience of art, multiplies and opens up the ways in which artists engage the world around them. This often leads to surprising overlaps in human intention across all disciplines.”

Read more at The Cornell Chronicle.

ARTIST PROJECTS

Galaxy is a Memory, Earth is a SouvenirA NEEDLE WOMAN: GALAXY WAS A MEMORY, EARTH IS A SOUVENIR
A Needle Woman: Galaxy was a Memory, Earth is a Souvenir is a continuation of kimsooja's art practice where she has contextualizes the notion of the needle and the notion of bottari, both of which have been explored in a number of site specific projects, most recently in the Korean Pavilion in the Biennale di Venezia, 2013.

THE CHARLES BABBAGE MEMORIAL FLIGHT AND PAYLOADPayload
New media artist 
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will be on campus to execute a installation centered on a passage from 19th century polymath and "father of the computer" Charles Babbage which is nano-etched on millions of gold leaflets 150 atoms thick.

NANOESSENCENanoessences
Artists Paul Thomas and Kevin Raxworthy utilize the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) cantilever to investigate atomic structures and vibrations taking place between living and dead skin cells. The project presents a HaCat skin cell, the AFM and breath to demonstrate a fundamental symbiotic relationship in the instigation of life at a nano level.

ILLUMINATED NANOSCRIPTS, NANOPOEMS, AND NANOGARAGE(S)Particle Group
The artist collective *particle group* collaborates on Illuminated NanoScripts, NanoPoems, and NanoGarage(s) to incorporate the writings or Romantic poet Blake into their investigations in nano scale science. In these works, the artists invert Blakean materialism by projecting a cinematics of constellation, mashing up the movement-sound-word-image to honor "prehistoric digital poetry" as "archaeologies of the future."

INVESTIGATIONS 
Research projects in nano science or influenced by nano science by Cornell faculty and students.

eSkinCOLORFOLDS ESKIN + KIRIGAMI: FROM CELL CONTRACTILITY TO SENSING MATERIALS TO ADAPTIVE FOLDABLE ARCHITECTURE
The Sabin Design Lab, directed by Architecture professor Jenny Sabin, addresses ecology and sustainability issues with buildings that behave like organisms. Their project is an interactive folded assembly prototype featuring structural color change of a façade material incorporating nano- and microscale features and effects inspired by human cells plated on geometrically defined substrates.

Nano WhereNANOWHERE: GAS IN, LIGHT OUT
Juan Hinestroza of the Fiber Science and Apparel Design department and So-Yeon Yoon of the Design and Environmental Analysis department demonstrate the potential of molecular-level metal-organic frameworks as wearable sensors to detect methane and poisonous gases, using a sealed gas chamber and 3-D visual art.

PAPERTHIN
Three recent architecture students Caio Barboza ’13Joseph Kennedy ’15 and Sonny Xu ’13, share similar concerns over issues of scale and representation. Paperthin is an investigation the inversion of a typical relationship of scale model to actual space in architecture wherein a much larger, real space is conveyed by a small space.  The project shows how nano scale, the relationship between model and subject are inverted and the architectural scale becomes the representation of the smaller scale as a means of making it both viewable and inhabitable to the public.

When Art Exceeds PerceptionWHEN ART EXCEEDS PERCEPTION
Ph.D. student in Applied Physics Robert Hovden '14 will explore replication and plagiarism in nanoscale reproductions, 500 times smaller than the naked eye can see, of famous works of art inscribed onto a silicon crystal.

Nano PerformancesNANO PERFORMANCES: IN 13 BOXES
Performing and media arts professor Beth Milles ‘88, animator/visual artist Lynn Tomlinson ‘88 and students from different majors will collaborate on 13 media installations and live performances situated across campus. Computer mapping and clues linking the project’s components will assist in “synthesizing the 13 events as a whole experience – it has a lot to do with discovering the performance,” according to Milles.