ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 6 Issue 3
Cover Date: 2009/02
Nanoessence: God, the first nano assembler
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Authors:  Paul Thomas 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.6.3.217_1


The Nanoessence project aims to examine life at a sub-cellular level, re-examining space and scale within the human context. A single HaCat skin cell is analysed with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to explore comparisons between, life and death at a nano level. The humanistic discourse concerning life is now being challenged by nanotechnological research that brings into question the concepts of what constitutes living. The Nanoessence project research is based on data gathered as part of a residency at SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, University of Western Australia and the Nanochemistry Research Institute, (NRI) Curtin University of Technology. The space of the body can be seen at an atomic level as having no defining boundaries. More generally, molecular self-assembly seeks to use concepts of supramolecular chemistry, and molecular recognition in particular, to cause single-molecule components to automatically arrange themselves into some useful conformation (reference Wikipedia). Nano assembly, or ‘bottom-up’ approach, is the construction of a supramolecular chemistry by the assembly of nanoscopic particles, or even atoms and molecules. The proposal for nanotechnology to reshape nature atom by atom develops an interesting debate as to the constitution of life. The Nanoessence project aims to construct a physical experience to examine this scientific and metaphysical world. Nanoessence is an interactive audio-visual installation. In the Nanoessence installation the viewer will interface with the visual and sonic presentation through his or her own breath. In the context of the project breath has a strong conceptual and metaphorical link to a Biblical inception of life. The project attempts to maintain a high quality of authentic data to engage the viewer in a sensorial qualitative experience of quantitative data.
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