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Nanomicroscopic Image Or Modern Art?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-like-pictures dept.

Graphics 60

SillyConCarbide writes "Every six months, the Materials Research Society holds a science as art competition. The winners from their most recent meeting are particularly breathtaking. Materials researchers may struggle for years with stubborn instruments, fragile crystals or difficult chemical reactions before obtaining a bit of precious data from the exotic substances they study. Now, the scrutiny of samples not only yields potentially important data, but also artistic inspiration. Polymer films, cerium oxide membranes, and tantalum oxide crystals can look beautiful in the right light — especially if that light is an electron beam."

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Wha? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23207052)

Nana?

Re:Wha? (1)

aix tom (902140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207124)

obviously it's an attempt to establish nanolinguistic spelling as an art form.

Re:Wha? (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207230)

I guess "nanamicrocopic" means "as small as your sweet old grandmother"...

I suppose they actually meant "Nanomicroscopic" ... but that's actually redundant since "Nanoscopic" (in analogy to "microscopic") is gaining acceptance as the term to describe this size-scale.

You call that art? (0, Offtopic)

ah.clem (147626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207062)

ART?!? You call that art? My little Billy could do better than that! Jeebus!

ah.clem

Re:You call that art? (1)

Kippesoep (712796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207338)

Wow! Little Billy has a Scanning/Tunnelling Microscope?

Re:You call that art? (1)

ah.clem (147626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23214150)

OFFTOPIC? The original comment is a fucking joke, laugh! Christ on a crutch, this is what happens when you give the slashmeggers mod points.

Get off my fucking eLawn, you rascals!

Everything is Art (4, Insightful)

acomj (20611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207070)

I used to work as a security guard in a modern art museum. I the gallery was a plain looking wooden bench. I got asked, "Can I sit on this bench or is it art.?"

"No its just a bench".

If nobody can tell what art is anymore then is everything art?

This is art, in the way that photography is art.

Re:Everything is Art (1, Interesting)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207216)

That just means that modern art is so meaningless and trite that no one knows what could be included as it. I just recently took a trip through the Dayton Art Institute and was seriously perplexed as to just how half of the junk in the "modern art" section managed to be relevant. The answer? It didn't. Not only were many of them simply splattered paint, but over half of the exhibits didn't even have names or titles! The hack that "painted" these can go on forever about how it "really expresses their angst toward the world, especially current politics", but you know what? That's bullshit, and none of it even comes close to being perceived if you were to simply look at the painting because it's nothing but flung-on pigments.

Of course, there was a nice Warhol and a few others to be found in the section that were art and not just meaningless, splattered colors.

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207402)


That just means that modern art is so meaningless and trite that no one knows what could be included as it.

Well, I take issue with the idea that labeling something as "art" immediately puts in on some pedestal of un-questionablity. If you do question it, it's some kind of reflection on your poor understanding of "art", i.e. "the emperor has no clothes".

In my view, call anything you like "art", but some art just plain sucks monkey dick. I was at a modern art museum in Munich about a month ago, and one piece of "art" was two pieces of pink yarn, strung ceiling to floor. It was titled "pink flamingo". That was easily the biggest piece of utter crap I've ever seen in a museum. (Of course, this was a rather strange museum where the alarms went off literally every 5-10 minutes because people got too close to the art). The alarms going off, and the nazi guard that yelled at people was a hell of a lot more expressive of Bavaria than anything I saw in that museum.

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207442)

In my view, call anything you like "art", but some art just plain sucks monkey dick.

YES! That's it exactly. If it even makes concessions to the art of creation, it's art! It doesn't matter if it's a commercial for lemon pledge or your kid's crayon pictures on your fridge. Either way, no one gives a fuck - but they're still both art.

Art is, well, it's art. Practically everything involves artistry. The notion that you can't question its value is what's retarded.

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23209450)

(Of course, this was a rather strange museum where the alarms went off literally every 5-10 minutes because people got too close to the art). The alarms going off, and the nazi guard that yelled at people was a hell of a lot more expressive of Bavaria than anything I saw in that museum.

That act might have been a performance art?

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23210780)


That act might have been a performance art?

I thought about that possibility at the time, (mostly for fun). We even asked an employee at a different museum about it. She replied the alarm going off was common, and the existence of it involved politics, and money. She said this museum had a lot of money for an expensive alarm system. I thought that explanation kind of funny, since I've been to museums all over the world, and I've never even heard an alarm go off, much less get yelled at by a Nazi guard. I remember a guard in Chicago looking intently at me and my girlfriend while I motioned at a statue as we talked about it. He seemed more amused by our conversation than he was worried about us actually touching it though.

So no, it sadly wasn't some kind of performance art. I think it must be just a different world over their in southern Germany.

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23211444)

Ah, well it was just a funny, and I believe you. However, were I in your stead, and this is just the way I am, but I would have started clapping as if the guard was delivering a wondrous performance, the action alone would almost certainly have enlisted the other museum-goers to recognize the absurdity in an over zealous security guard unintentionally becoming more artful and emotionally moving than the objects he was guarding.

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23270950)

over their in southern Germany

"there".

Re:Everything is Art (but some art just sucks) (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23212008)

I don't know if you can consider something art if talent, skill, and/or hard work doesn't go into it.

I've been to the museum of modern art or whatever the hell it's called in NYC. (This was way back in elementary school.) I remember looking at an entirely black canvas with a red dot in the center and thinking, "Is this guy an artist or a house painter?"

I personally just can't imagine something that took so little effort or talent as art.

Re:Everything is Art (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207242)

Some say "art" is "something that took skill to produce an aesthetic result". So thinking of it as that and aesthetics being in the eye of the beholder, I guess it's subjective if something is art or not.

And using that "definition", photography can be called art by the one watching it if he/she think skill was well used for the result, but maybe not otherwise.

Re:Everything is Art (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207274)

If nobody can tell what art is anymore then is everything art?
Congratulations, you have just restated the question that artists like Marcel Duchamp [wikipedia.org] discovered 90 years ago :)

Re:Everything is Art (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207346)

I used to work as a security guard in a modern art museum. I the gallery was a plain looking wooden bench. I got asked, "Can I sit on this bench or is it art.?"

"No its just a bench".
Little did you know that all benches at modern art museums are the work of one particular anonymous artist. His work is designed to incorporate both regular employees and patrons of each museum.

Re:Everything is Art (2, Informative)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207588)

There is plenty of bad art out there. But there's also the problem that art has become much more complex than it used to be. It takes years of study to really understand a lot of recent work and develop and eye for it, and there are mountains of writing behind all of it. Nobody ever comes along as a novice, glances at advanced math and calls it's a bunch of BS because they don't understand it. But people do that all the time with art.

Re:Everything is Art (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208708)

art is generally seen as a form of expression, right? showing people how you see things?

then if something's too complicated for most of the audience to get, it probably fails at expressing those things. in other words, it does suck, simply because it doesn't mean anything to the people you made it for.

and if you "made it for yourself", ya don't really have the right to complain if others don't get it. after all, you didn't make it for them anyway, right? :P

Re:Everything is Art (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23210522)

then if something's too complicated for most of the audience to get, it probably fails at expressing those things. in other words, it does suck, simply because it doesn't mean anything to the people you made it for.
I don't understand quantum mechanics, does that mean that quantum mechanics sucks because it is too complicated for most people to get?

no, it means that science, physics and math are languages that people have to invest a great deal of time and effort into learning.

someone might argue that quantum mechanics is not intended for a general audience, it is made specifically for other scientists and theorists already familiar with the terminology and jargon found in that field.

well, the same has been true with art for the past 50 years.
Most contemporary art is made with other artists as the intended audience, artists don't have the general public in mind whey they are creating a piece.
if you really want to see ideas that have been watered down to the point where everyone is able to get what the artist is saying, look at some postcards. or many some dumb Hollywood crap fest.

art is a language that has been developing for years, and if you don't understand it, you have no one to blame but yourself for your ignorance in an area you have chosen to not study.

that being said, after you have invested years learning the language of art, you will realize that yes, half the stuff out there sucks ass.

~ Kyle, BFA
(i will leave it to your imagination to decided if that BFA stands for 'bachelor of fine arts', 'bachelor of fuck all' or 'big fat asshole')

Re:Everything is Art (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207778)

Yes, it could be said 'everything' is art, but that are varying degrees of quality to each 'piece'. Most postmodern art just happens to be crap (with a few exceptions).

Re:Everything is Art (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207984)

The problem with being avant-garde is knowing who's putting on who.
(from Calvin & Hobbes)

Re:Everything is Art (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208046)

Obligatory Red Dwarf quote:

RIMMER: Hmm. Marvelous. (Crosses over to a small, angular box near the door.) Now this three-dimensional sculpture in particular is quite exquisite. Its simplicity, it's bold, stark lines... pray, what do you call it?
LEGION: The light switch.
RIMMER: The light switch. (In "Gazpacho Soup" tones)
LEGION: Yes.
RIMMER: I couldn't buy it, then?
LEGION: Not really. I need it to turn the lights on and off.
RIMMER: (Trying to salvage some pride) It's a pity, 'cos if it wasn't a l-light switch i-in many ways it could be considered a-a masterpiece.

My own rule-of-thumb is if someone needs to explain to you why something is "art", then it isn't - doubly so if the explanation sounds like Arthur Dent trying to say that he liked the Vogon captain's poetry.

Re:Everything is Art (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208258)

I was at a clay & glass museum once and one of the items in the display case was a plain paper grocery bag. It was opened, a little crumpled and had the tell-tale stamp on it. I couldn't understand what it was doing there. Maybe it was some kind of a joke. After a minute or so, I noticed that the paper seemed just a little bit too thick... It was a clay sculpture. Brilliant!

Re:Everything is Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23208786)

My friend is an artist. For one installation, he went to the museum and cut pieces out of the wall and assembled them into a bench. People were allowed to sit and the bench which faced the cut up wall, but most people don't feel comfortable about sitting on art.

Even artists talk about and wonder (or debate) what is art. There will never be a clear line, while some stuff is clearly art and other things clearly isn't, but there will always be a gray area.

Re:Everything is Art (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23213882)

If nobody can tell what art is anymore then is everything art?

I think the fact that modern art has become so popular that museums dedicated to it have opened, where the patrons are so aware of the self-awareness of the artist and art itself that they really have to ask someone if an unmarked bench is art is a work of art in and of itself.

Transpersonal and temporally dissociative works of art are my favorite.

I think my favorite work of modern performance art I've created was when I had this apple I was throwing up in the air and catching--enjoying myself thoroughly--and suddenly I exclaimed, "Man! This is a GOOD APPLE!"

I'm primarily a musician, but I don't think I've ever made any music that attains the purity and clarity of Man! This Is a Good Apple!

Re:Everything is Art (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223080)

I'm a formar art student. [mcgrew.info] One of my professors was fond of saying "I don't know what I like, but I know what art is".

Just because you don't understand calculus doen't mean that calculus isn't math.

It's been said "be silent and be though a fool, or speak and remove all doubt".

This is art, in the way that photography is art.

Photography IS art. Your photography is NOT art.

Its a good thing (3, Interesting)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207108)

In a world where science is becoming less and less listened to, and most research is conducted by biased corporations for the purpose of supporting a product, anything that gets the public to develop a positive interest in science can't be a bad thing.

Maybe someone will see some of this art and think, wow thats really cool, I wonder why that looks that way. Maybe that will lead people to actually grab a book and learn something.

Re:Its a good thing (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207150)

it is really cool. If you need an electron microscope to see it, you are approaching that thousand angels on the head of a pin thing. Andy Warhol would be proud of the toilet too :)

why thats not light at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23207126)

An electron beam != light. That is the primary differency between an electron microscope and a (normal) light microscope. The electron beam with its much smaller wavelength is able to better resolve the details of whatever object you happen to be looking at.

This is actually pretty neat (2, Interesting)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207144)

I was expecting more designed nano-scale guitars, but seeing the article was actually a very pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting to see sunrises, flowers, or forests come out of those images, even if they were colorized.

Wow! (4, Funny)

gentlemen_loser (817960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207154)

Am I the only one who noticed that one of the images looked EXACTLY like a Honda Accord advert?!? Spooky.

Neh nah neh nah (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207180)

"sue came in with silks arouunddddd".

well im not a grammer nazi, but you better correct that nana microscopic thing you got there in the header. or am i nanah myself and its actually nanamicroscopic ?

sigh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23207234)

Only three images with scale markers, and all the EM pictures colorized. These have to be art, because they definitely are not science. Pretty sad when all the scientists feel they have to colorize their pictures to get anyone to look at them.

Where can we get the full sized images? (1)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207268)

Some of these look great. Does anyone know where to get the high resolution version of any of the pictures from the article?

Re:Where can we get the full sized images? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23207318)

Some of these look great. Does anyone know where to get the high resolution version of any of the pictures from the article?
here [mrs.org]

Re:Where can we get the full sized images? (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207334)

From MRS itself [mrs.org] .

Re:Where can we get the full sized images? (1)

Boa Constrictor (810560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207344)

You can follow the links in the article to the people who were responsible for the pictures. Since this is academia, I imagine most people would be only too happy to supply you with a copy. There's one readily available: http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home/HYYang/images/NanoChnPainting.jpg [ntu.edu.sg]

nana? (1)

Isopropyl (730365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207310)

wtf is nanamicroscopic art? very very tiny paintings of grandmothers? i think they mean "nano"?

LINK TO FINAL IMAGE (2, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207350)

The page for the last image is broken.
Here is a direct link to view final image. [wired.com]

-

Re:LINK TO FINAL IMAGE (1)

presentt (863462) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208198)

Or press "next image" twice. That worked for me.

Nanamicroscopic? (1, Informative)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207446)

Who the hell let this guy title the article? It's "Nanoscopic." Nano is a Greek prefix meaning "one billionth," at least when it's spelled correctly. Micro is a Greek prefix meaning "one millionth." Scope is a Greek root meaning "to view."

Of course, I guess it could be about a grandmother who's a few microns tall. . .

Not art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23207708)

They may be interesting shapes, colors, etc. but what would make them art?

Stick-man suicide... (1)

MenThal (646459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207768)

Anyone else feel a little sad for the yellow-fatty-cell man [wired.com] committing suicide by jumping of a celery stick? Now Toribash [toribash.com] that's a real nano-manly way to die!

NSF Science & Engineering Visualization Challe (1)

mdd4696 (1017728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23207800)

Don't forget the NSF's Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge [nsf.gov] . This contest is to encourage people to communicate science using images and media. Check out the contest winners from the past few years.

Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23208242)

We're talking about some beautiful electron microscope images.

But is everything that's beautiful art? Is a landscape art? Is a pretty woman art? Is anything that's created by nature ever art?
I think we'll agree to "no".

Can a photograph of a landscape or a beautiful woman be art?
I think it can, because the photographer has an influence on the model's pose, on the angle the picture is taken from, etc. Creativity is what matters. But even those are (IMO) marginal cases. I think Gaugin is art, Vermeer is art - but a landscape photograph never is. I know a lot of people will disagree, especially photographers.

In this case, I don't see how the photographer would have much influence on the composition, making it even less art.

Esthetically it's an entirely different matter: the images remain bautiful, in the same way a landscape can be.

Money (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208328)

Dear NIH, we would like funding because our work could lead towards a breakthrough in nanotechnology. And hey, we can take really cool pictures.

original or high resolution images? (1)

h4w6af6oitsbn7pc (1183557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23208436)

Very nice. So where can I get the original high resolution images of these?

Re:original or high resolution images? (1)

westcoaster004 (893514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23212768)

After 3-6 years of labouriously slaving away as a grad student you can have as many of these pictures as you like.

High res versions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23208888)

http://www.mrs.org/s_mrs/doc.asp?CID=1803&DID=171434

Inspiration (1)

woodycat (1000364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23210298)

The photographs may not be art in themselves but they may be inspirational to some artists for the purpose of making art much the same as a beautiful tree would be in the creation of a landscape painting. A modern artist often uses all images natural and man-made or macro and micro to conceive his art.If the resulting image has the 'artistic quality' brought in by the mind and hand of man then it is truly art. Those who can't differentiate art from image are simply not tuning in to the deeper quality of man's creations. I guess purpose comes into art as well. Art serves no real or useful purpose. It may inspire useful things in terms of design or may trigger a profound new sense of something for useful purpose like science but first up it is art for art's sake.

I used photomicrographs for art several years ago (1)

grandpa-geek (981017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23210700)

In the mid 1970's I took a painting class that I attended for several years. Photomicrographs became one of my favorite sources of ideas for painting.

Aviation Week had published a photomicrograph of a moon rock. Except for being in black and white, it looked like modern art, so I did a painting based on its characteristics, adding color. I later bought a book that had photomicrographs of minerals. I used some of the pictures in that book the same way.

There are other things that can be used. I once took part of an election district map and made a painting that looks somewhat like the design for a stained glass window.

You would be amazed at the number of things that can provide ideas for modern art.

Aesthetic value in science (1)

westcoaster004 (893514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23212816)

I think that these images highlight the value of aesthetics in science, especially for the purposes of communication. The scientists rendering these photos make choices of perspective and colour schemes that dramatically effect whether it communicates the message. Science, after all, is not always merely about facts, but about a message. And it is important for scientists to be able to communicate those facts.
While some may bemoan the lack of scale bars, it must be kept in mind that these images are made to communicate an idea. Rest assured that they likely have hundreds of copies of the same or similar structures with scale bars in abundance... and this too is an aesthetic choice.
I think that the greater question should lie in asking ourselves as scientists, is it the "prettiest" paper that gets published in Nature or Science? It seems that quite often there is a direct correlation between the aesthetic quality of figures and graphs and the likelihood of publication in more prestigious journals.
Interesting science with far reaching consequences can easily be passed up if not presented in an attractive manner. I think that may be the greater question - do aesthetics applied to scientific data create biases? Or is it merely a more effective means of communicating a message?

Atom Art (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23213014)

Atom Art is the new Pixel Art

Will it be considered art? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23214602)

These images were not produced by the idle children of the wealthy, so it is unlikely that they will ever be considered as "art" by our society's arbiters.

The world as a fractal... (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23220646)

Amazing how the world of the very small has so many similarities with the world of the large, or to us, the normal world. Looking at these images reminds me of fractal diagrams I played with during high school math classes. No matter how far down you zoom into the fractal, the image continues to retain it physical and topological properties down into infinitesimal levels. From TFA, the most striking image for me was the simplest. The titanium alloy stress test looks all the world like a lonesome path in the forest, quiet and serene. Simply amazing.

Nanomicroscopic Image Or Modern Art? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23222970)

"Nanomicroscopic" is redundant. "Nano" means "nanometer", one BILLIONTH of a meter. If it's nano it's microscopic.

So mod TFA down!

What is Art? (1)

MaDMvD (1148691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225464)

No one truly has the right to dub art as, well, art. If I had the right to define art, it would probably go something like this: Art is everything that has existed, currently exists and will continue to exist. Art is both life and death, materialization and the possibility of becoming - as well as the impossibility of ever having been. I agree with those who said blobs on a canvas is not art, at least not how "they" see it.
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