SYNTHETIC BEUYS : ON NANO – MATERIALS AND THE AESTHETICS OF IMPERCEPTIBILITY

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My paper “Synthetics Beuys : on Nano-Materials and the Aesthetics of Imperceptibility” was published in the No.15 of Artnodes.

 

Abstract

This paper brings into attention the paradoxical nature of nano-objects and analyses the relationship between an imperceptible matter (too small to be perceived by the senses) and its forms of sensible manifestation.

The development of nano-sciences and nano-technologies would have not been possible without the invention of a number of visualisation instruments (like the STM – Scanning Tunnelling Microscope and the AFM – Atomic Force Microscope). From this perspective, we can speak of nano-particles as “image-objects” (Sacha Loeve), as a mediated matter. If there are a series of research projects related to the nature of epistemological inquiry in the field of nano-sciences and nano-technologies, there are still a few concerns related to the changes that occur in the field of aesthetics when it comes to the apprehension of nano-technologically treated materials.

By taking into account the latest developments in the field of nano-technologies applied to textiles, the present paper examines the way the status and the significance of materials change when they are nano-technologically treated. In order to do so, we propose a fictional scenario related to some of Joseph Beuys’ works in which we replace the “traditional” fabrics used by the artist with new ones, nano-technologically produced or treated. By using Joseph Beuys’s artistic approach as a methodological tool of critical enquiry, we are looking to the ways the perceptive, epistemological and semiotic categories are to be re-evaluated when related to nano-technological approaches. The analysis will help to formulate some of the issues artists, designers and researchers should consider when dealing with what we call the “aesthetics of imperceptibility” of nano-materials and nano-technologies.

Keywords

nanotechnologies; nano-textiles; Joseph Beuys; aesthetics of imperceptibility; aesthetics of nano-technologies