initiated July 2010
Our ability to shift scales, from the smallest thing to the largest thing has been described as the ‘transcalar imaginary'. The workshop will enable participants to touch the nano level and then immerse themselves within it through visualisations and sonifications.- scale electric workshop description
How is it possible to give meaning to something that materially and physically exists, yet is so un-perceivable to the human senses that what is before us is somewhat inexplicable. Using an Atomic Force Microscope at the Wolfson Nanotechnology Laboratory and i-Dat’s Immersive Vision Theatre, we manoeuvred between the ineffably small to the immersively big to provoke thought and attach narratives that explain what is before us.
john, computer, microsoft word, thesis
For over 9 months, John has spent most days sat at his computer, tapping into microsoft word, slowly marching towards the 80,000 (coherent) words he requires for his PhD thesis. This process of human-computer interaction, although highly cognitive and thought-based, is one that involves strange actions of the body. John has developed some rather unusual habits during his time with his thesis. He sniffs his fingers; he rubs his hands together as if he crunching air; he scratches his scalp as if he wants to go bald; he gets up and randomly meanders around the office with no apparent reasoning. To some outside observers these behaviours may appear to be somewhat irrational and counter-productive to the practical end. For John, however, these behaviours are not a symptom of his thought-process, or lack thereof; they are his thought process.
As John rubs his hands together, scrubs his scalp and massages his face, his keyboard collects decaying matter. These traces of human materiality are discards of an embodied cognitive thought process. John’s epistemic actions make his engagement with the problem-at-hand soothing and sensical to him. Sometimes he rubs his hand to the extent that matter comes away that is not ready yet, transcending the normal regenerative process of the human somatic system. This nano-metrical trace of flesh is in some way a quantifiable and qualitative source of rich cognitive data. How fresh is John’s discarded thoughts? Were they ready to be rubbed away? How much flesh has John rubbed away today compared to yesterday? Has he just rubbed away the best idea for a sentence structure he had? Might someone be willing to steal his discarded thoughts?