Wildly oscillating molecules: Technological mediation of the atomic force microscope

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The human sensory experience of submolecular phenomena is only possible through complex technological mediations that include not just magnifications, but also manipulations of time and translations from one sense to another. In my creative moving image project Wildly Oscillating Molecules, I develop strategies for using an atomic force microscope (AFM) as a cinematographic instrument, specifically using its tactile mechanisms to generate video. Using the AFM over four years to generate experimental moving image installations, I examine my physical and psychological experiences of this nanoscientific instrumentation. Although referred to by the philosopher of technology Don Ihde, the AFM s style of technological mediation has not been subjectively explored. Working to engage with an infinitesimal scale, the AFM has a unique style of spatial and temporal mediation that can be manipulated through the post-production and exhibition practices of the moving image. Wildly Oscillating Molecules provides insight into how the AFM influences human spatial and temporal perception of nanoscale phenomena and provides a new framework with which to analyse nanoscientific imaging practices. Understanding the nuances of technological mediation encourages science artists working with submolecular phenomena to adopt, evolve or transform properties of technological mediation when presenting their work to an audience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalTechnoetic Arts
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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