SPEAKER APRIL 14, ArtTechPsyche II Arts @29 Gallery, Harvard MA
VISITING ARTIST | Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Science | Disease and Biophysics Group
Harvard University, Cambridge MA
New project | Merging Art and Science > Nano. Stasis Cosmic Garden & The Little Black Dress
For more information on Harvard's D&B group visit website: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science | Disease Biophysics Group
Magical Thinking. What began as a quest for the artist to find a compelling new medium for her artwork became a larger vision merging science, the little black dress and the universe of nanofibers. The unlikely source centers around a cotton candy machine. And it’s enough to make your head spin. As we bridge the divide between art and science, my endeavor is to show how artists use science to make their fantasies real and palpable; and how science uses the arts in the same way.
Nano . Stasis Cosmic Garden & the Little Black Dress is a traveling museum exhibit with an art form that explores the exquisite side of a radical new technology – one that is changing lives. Sparked by Harvard’s Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Kevin Kit Parker and his invention of a cotton candy inspired rotary jet spinning technology; Kit’s groundbreaking work has created a textile that is evolving for a spectrum of futuristic uses – from wound healing, tissue and organ growth to "smart" sports related products. The Little Black Dress is not far behind.
Like Rapunzel turning straw into gold, these futuristic nanofibers are spun into versatile textiles from polymer composites.
Ciuffo: "I’m the first layperson to actually work in Kit's lab, experimenting with the fiber. It's been a meditative, frustrating, visually compelling and mostly thrilling experience. Imagine trying to “catch” these tiny graceful tendrils that disappear into the air, and spin them, like Rapunzel, into a usable solid piece of canvas. It takes experimentation with the solution itself, a combination of solvent and nylon beads, and then a focused, patient process of catching the elusive fibers from a rotary device (the cotton candy machine) using a hand held makeshift drill."
Nanofiber, Neurofashion, and the Little Black Dress...
In addition to its medical usage, other industries are looking into Kit’s technology, e.g. high couture fashion houses and “smart” sportswear companies. This exhibit will tie into Kit's course in Neurofashion. The Neurofashion seminar will explore how we process visual cues in the environment...edge detection, color contrast, etc...and how these kinds of ideas could be used to design a garment we can't resist - much like the classic "little black dress."
Storytelling: Fiber & Cartesian Geometrics Merge With Fashion
Kit's ideas about proper fashion design revolve around using Cartesian geometries that highlight straight edge detection and contrast detection in the brain centers for visual processing - basically satisfying visuals that delight us. Carla's objective is to tell the story of the fibers and show the ethereal side of their universe using her signature large format photographic composites. Her portraiture of models wearing these acute, sharp angled Cartesian geometric designs will be complimented with a tactile display of garments made by well known designers that showcase the essence of Kit's seminar. A streaming video of the spinning fibers and a newsworthy component that tracks the new nanofiber technology and its futuristic usage will complete the multi media exhibit.
Ciuffo: "Nearly one year later and after several trips to Harvard, working closely with graduate student Nina Sinatra, I’ve developed tiny nanofiber “canvases.” The “nano canvases” will be imprinted with my artwork and showcase the fiber imagery behind large magnifying lenses. Large format acrylic artwork composites using images of fiber from SEM photos taken with Harvard’s electron microscope will showcase the fiber's unique universe. My portraiture of models wearing sharp angled garments will demonstrate Kit's concept surrounding the "Little Black Dress."
About Spinning Nanofiber
"When spun, the material stretches much like molten sugar does as it begins to dry into thin, silky ribbons. Just as in cotton candy production, the nanofibers are extruded through a nozzle by a combination of hydrostatic and centrifugal pressure."
– Mark Crawford, ASME.org
About Kevin 'Kit' Parker
Kit Parker is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics in the John A. Paulson Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and he is the director of the Disease Biophysics Group whose research focuses on mechanotransduction in neural and cardiovascular systems. He is a member of the Systems Biology Program at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program.In addition to being a researcher, Kit is also a U.S. Army paratrooper who completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Nano fiber Artwork | Carla Ciuffo