Category: Imaging

From Dark Matter to Hiccups, Artists Explore Mysteries of Science

By Rebecca Horne | November 16, 2012 11:27 am

The Where The Why and The How is a recent release from Chronicle books that asks 75 artists and illustrators to interpret the unsolved mysteries of science. Don’t expect answers to questions like “Why is each snowflake unique” and “Can evolution outpace climate change” — but the collection may help dispel the notion that science is best illustrated by digital renderings, graphs and pie charts.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Ideas, Imaging, Top Posts

Twisted Landscapes of Google Earth’s Universal Texture

By Rebecca Horne | November 15, 2012 1:07 pm

Postcards from Google Earth is a series of screenshots artist Clement Valla took from Google Earth. These uncanny landscapes document technical anomalies in the software, which uses a technology called texture mapping. Like patterned wrapping paper covering a plain white box, a texture map is a flat image applied to a 3D model, thereby adding detail, color and surface texture.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Imaging, Internet, Top Posts

Google Explosions make Fiery New World

By Rebecca Horne | October 12, 2012 9:52 am

Chicago-based artist Christopher Meerdo’s image titled Spore is currently on display at the Union League Club of Chicago. Spore is composed of 250 images of explosions appropriated from Google image search. He noted the Internet somehow levels meaning attached to the events, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish between celebrations and terror. Meerdo: “The title Spore refers not only to the formal shape of the image I produced, but also points to the scientific understanding of microorganisms which can self-replicate unaided. This becomes a sort of linguistic metaphor when linking this with the self-replicating nature of memetic culture.”

It is surprising how static the image appears, as if utterly frozen in time, given that it is an amalgam of 250 images that are by definition some of the most dynamic that you can find. The suggestion is of human strife, under the microscope. Spore is a world unto itself, where destruction (negation) forms a new, round world. It is an ending, or a volatile beginning?

Spore, by Christopher Meerdo, 2011

Outer-Space Monument is Ready for Orbit

By Rebecca Horne | October 11, 2012 3:54 pm

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Ideas, Imaging, Space, The Future, Top Posts

Where Stock Prices Literally Peak

By Rebecca Horne | October 1, 2012 11:39 am

Using photographs made on a three-week trek to the summit of Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua German photographer Michael Najjar created a series of visualizations titled High Altitude tracking the global stock market indices over several decades. The crags and peaks of the Andes were digitally manipulated to create a landscape tracing the ups and downs of market data from 1980 through 2009. The re-mapping of the mountaintops in the shape of the boom and bust cycle merges immoveable fact—dense geological mass recording deep time, and the temporal, shifting abstractions of commerce. What we see are are mountains literally made in the shape of information—and for a moment, the mountains move and a rift occurs. Najjar writes:

“The information society has brought about a tectonic shift in our understanding of space and time. Humankind is confronted with a process of such dynamic complexity that the borderlines we seemingly identify at one moment are already sublimated in the next. In future the virtual value system could demand its proper reincarnation in the real world. The jagged rock formations of High Altitude are emblematic of the thin edge separating reality and simulation.”

This photograph is part of the exhibition Seeking Silicon Valley at the new ZERO1 garage on 439 South First Street 
San Jose, CA. The ZERO1 Biennial emphasizes art and technology through exhibitions, public art installations, performances and lectures, through December 8th, 2012.

Nasdaq 80-09 (from the High Altitude series), 2008-10
Courtesy Michael Najjar/ZERO1 Biennial

MORE ABOUT: Michael Najjar

The Beautiful Breaking Point

By Rebecca Horne | September 17, 2012 4:22 pm

How does one fluid body become two? At what point do the two separate, but still hold together? For Sidney Nagel, it was is not enough just to ask these questions, it was necessary to see exactly what this moment looks like. This image, titled “Two-Fluid Snap Off” was created by Nagel, a professor in the department of physics at the University of Chicago. It shows one drop of glycerol breaking apart inside the surrounding oil (Polydimethylsiloxane). Nagel writes that since the viscous fluids were both transparent, it was difficult to show the details of the shape at the breaking point. Using customized dark-field lighting, he was able to make even the narrowest point of contact clearly visible.

High speed strobe photography made it possible to catch the breaking drop phenomena in focus at a high level of magnification, when it was only visible for the briefest instant. Nagel writes: “Scientific photography has the potential to cross boundaries of human emotion and intention; it can display as well as document nature. It allows the viewer to witness in wonder as well as understand in quantitative detail some of the marvels that are concealed from ordinary perception.” This image is part of the National Academy of Sciences art collection and is featured in a new book, Convergence, highlighting that collection.



Neutrons Show Us What’s Inside a Fly

By Rebecca Horne | August 28, 2012 2:42 pm



Dr. Anton Tremsin and a team at the University of California, Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory have developed new neutron imaging techniques that beam particles on objects enabling high resolution images showing detailed interiors of materials and structures. While X-rays interact with electrons in the atoms, neutrons interact with the nucleus. This neutron imaging provides different contrasts and shows complimentary information to that of an X-ray. Neutrons can interact with hydrogen, and also can see through metals that X-rays cannot penetrate. Tremsin:

“The fact that neutrons interact with the nucleus, as opposed to electrons in the case of X-rays, leads to a very different contrast mechanism. As a result, most organic objects are quite opaque and many metals can be easily penetrated. That allows seeing a drop of oil or gasoline inside a real aluminum-block car engine, a flower behind a granite wall, water flow inside metal pipes, strain in materials, etc.”

The image in this video is a reconstruction of a image of a horsefly on the tip of a hypodermic needle from a set of thermal neutron transmission images acquired with a neutron counting detector. Colors have been added to highlight the different tissues. Tremsin shows samples and demonstrations of neutron imaging in a recent lecture at Berkeley.


Video created by scientists from Space Sciences Lab, University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Imaging, Tech, Top Posts

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