Blue Morph
March 1 - April 12, 2008

BLUE MORPH is a site-specific interactive installation that uses nanoscale images and sounds derived from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Fringe is pleased to present this art-science collaboration between media artist Victoria Vesnaand nanoscientist James Gimzewski. Digital photographic images related to the installation complete the show.

Nanotechnology explorations are changing our perceptions of life in the world around us and this is symbolized by the newfound reality of the Blue Morpho butterfly. With the use of advanced optics it is recognized that the beautiful blue color of this butterfly is not pigment at all but rather patterns formed by nano. Blue Morpho has intrigued scientists for generations because of its subtle optical engineering that manipulate photons in amazing ways. The lamellate structure of their wing scales has been studied as a nanoscale model for the development of fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technology such as that used in currency.

The optics are no doubt fascinating but the real surprise is in the discovery of the way cellular change takes place in a butterfly. The amplified sounds reveal the process both to be halting and violent contradicting our imagination of a gradual peaceful metamorphosis. In reality the cellular transformation happens in sudden surges of activity interspersed with stillness and silence. There are eight pumps or "hearts" that maintain a constant beat throughout the metamorphosis creating a pumping rhythm in the background. During the transformation through emergence each flattened cell of the wing becomes a nanophotonic structure of black protein and free space leading to iridescence.

Nano is not only making the invisible visible but also changing our way of relating to "silence" or making the in-audible audible. With all the noise of chattering technologies and minds, Vesna and Gimzewski propose the interactivity to be stillness. In this empty space of nano we can get in touch with the magic of continuous change.

In addition to the gallery presentation a special BLUE MORPH event will be held at the Integratron in Joshua Tree on March 22nd. The Integratron is an acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine-- sited on a powerful geomagnetic vortex located in the Mojave Desert. This is an evening event with optional overnight camping under the stars or guests can stay inside the Integratron. The cost is $20 for the event, plus $35/person for optional overnight camping.

Reservations are required, for more information please visit or call 760-364-3126.

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Victoria Vesna is an artist, professor at the Department of Design | Media Arts and director of the Art | Science center at UCLA. She explores how communication technologies affect collective behavior and how perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. Her most recent installations -- Blue Morph, Mood Swings and Water Bowls, all aim to raise consciousness around the issues of our relationship to natural systems. She has exhibited her work internationally in 18 solo exhibitions, over 70 group shows, including the Venice Biennale, published 20+ papers, an edited volume and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is recipient of many grants, commissions and awards, including the Oscar Signorini award for best net artwork in 1998 and the Cine Golden Eagle for best scientific documentary in 1986. Vesna's work has received notice in numerous publications such as Art in America, National Geographic, the Los Angeles Times, Spiegel (Germany), The Irish Times (Ireland), Tema Celeste (Italy), and Veredas (Brazil) and appears in a number of book chapters on media arts.

Dr. James Gimzewski is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Nano/Pico Characterization Lab Director of the UCLACalifornia NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). He pioneered research on electrical contact with single atoms and molecules, light emission and molecular imaging using STM. His current interests are in the Nanoarchitectonics of molecular systems and cells with applications for nanomedicine. Recently, he has undertaken groundbreaking research in an entirely new field of biophysics, which he calls sonocytology of living cells. In 2005 he published the most downloaded paper in Nature on a pocket sized nuclear fusion device. Gimzewski received the 1997 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the 1997 The Discover Award for Emerging Fields, the 1998' Wired 25' Award from Wired magazine and the Institute of Physics "Duddell" 2001 prize and medal for his work in nanoscale science. He has collaborated with Victoria Vesna since 2002, on numerous art-science projects that have been exhibited in museums throughout the world.