Steep (I): a digital poetry of gold nanoparticles


Session Title:

  • Interactive Text

Presentation Title:

  • Steep (I): a digital poetry of gold nanoparticles



  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: nanotechnology, gold, nanoparticles, myth, metaphor, nanoscale, macroscale, environment, art/science, poetry

    Gold exists simultaneously as reality and myth in a kind of superposition (a term from quantum mechanics referring to the ability to simultaneously occupy two positions such as yes/no or one/zero). In ancient times, Kings Croesus and Midas were real life, historical figures that exist in contemporary life primarily as myths/metaphors referencing gold. More recent stories such as those of the Klondike and other gold rushes reinforce gold’s position in the imagination as an object of desire promising untold wealth and/or misery. There is another level where gold exists: as a material at the nanoscale, a nanoparticle. At this level, gold inhabits another superposition of sorts where it is inference (we can’t see at the nanoscale) but equipment which can sense nanoparticles renders the information visually to us as an object. Steep, a gold nanoparticle collaboration between Raewyn Turner, Brian Harris, Mark Wiesner, and Maryse de la Giroday along with a rotating list of collaborators is a multi-year, multidisciplinary, and multi-installation project exploring the superposition (mythic and real) posed by gold nanoparticles. Steep (I): digital poetry of gold nanoparticles, the first of the collaborations, is an artistic/poetic exploration of how these mythic/real particles may be affecting, changing, and disrupting the understandings we have of ourselves and our environments.

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