Beyond Sight Within Grasp
(Red Yellow and Blue)
The threshold of optical vision is between 400 – 700nm. Below this scale things are smaller than the wavelength of visible light and therefore beyond the reach of any optical microscope. In response to this threshold in vision a number of microscopes were developed in the 1980’s which engaged other ways of seeing, including the Atomic Force Microscope, which measures movements in a very fine tip that gently hovers above, touches or taps the sample surface.
The work ‘Beyond Sight Within Grasp (Red, Yellow and Blue)’ was developed in collaboration with the ‘Nano-electronic & Nanophotonic Materials Laboratory’ at UCL and ‘Beyond Sight Loss’ (a community group supporting visually impaired people within East London). The work considers copper at the scale relative to the wavelengths of red, yellow and blue light. Magnifying the material at this scale by a factor of one million through processes of tactile scanning within an Atomic Force Microscope and the tactile aesthetic judgements of blind collaborators. The resulting sculptures attempt to invert the visual dominance typically found within public art, by engaging touch as a primary mode of sensory perception during the research, development and reception of the artwork.
Commissioned by: Trellis Public Art / University College London, through EPSRC funding
Image credit Eva Herzog