NanoArt

A couple of weeks ago whilst writing about nanotechnology and the associated risk involved in such engineering techniques I mentioned Nanoart.  This week I would like to expand and to present a gallery of examples.

nano playboy logo

To quote Cris Orfescu, founder of Nanoart 21, “NanoArt is a new art discipline at the art-science-technology intersections. It features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by scientists and artists by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These structures are visualized with powerful research tools like scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their scientific images are captured and further processed by using different artistic techniques to convert them into artworks showcased for large audiences.”

One of the issues raised during discussion in my previous posts was about the usefulness and point of such artistic expression, so here I quote the NanoArt 21 website:

“The purpose is to promote  NanoArt worldwide as a reflection of a technological movement… a more appealing and effective way to communicate with the general public and to inform people about the new technologies of the 21st Century. NanoArt is aimed to raise the public awareness of Nanotechnology and its impact on our lives”.

There are several organizations that promote this form of expression and at least one international competition that offers cash prizes for the best examples (NanoArt 21 have an international competition). The German Centre for Research and Innovation hosted an exhibition of their collection in New York in 2011 and the number of artist/scientists involved seems to be growing.

The following gallery should give you an idea of this particular art form. Also take a look at the Nanobama here. The image is of nanotubes made in the shape of President Obama’s face, similar in style to the playboy above.

a guitar

A guitar

 

self explanatory

 

extra planetary

in blue

A nano landscape

You can find many other examples online. Do you like them? I personally like the 3D effect. It seems more accentuated because the images are created by electrons (electrically charged particles) rather than photons (particles of light). The electrons penetrate deeper into the structure creating images with more depth.

Art in Technological Development

Art is a Powerful Engine for Responsible Innovations

Art as a driver for responsible innovations is really my thing, and fortunately I am not alone.

In4Art is an interesting project that creates space for experiments on the intersection of art, science and technology and translates the outcomes to strategic implications and innovations.

The project’s focus is to increase the impact of art in society and economy by bringing systematic change to the domains of circular economy, material research and next generation internet. Care and Environment, a mix of sustainable development goals and positive impact for the broad society.

All of which sounds fantastic to me and worthy of further investigation, particularly bearing in mind that they have just launched a new explainer site for anyone interested in their Art Driven Innovation method.

Art experiments today often take place at the cutting edge of technological development, and can spark as well as act as an engine for innovation. See the diagram above taken from the website, it shows how artworks (or really the different ways that art broadens thinking) can be introduced into the process and have an effect on technological development.

From the website:

In4Art was founded in 2015 by Rodolfo and Lija Groenewoud van Vliet with the mission to increase the impact of innovative art in society and economy.  We believe art is a powerful engine for responsible innovations. It acts as an accelerator for innovation, offers reflections on our fast-changing high-tech society and by translating that into art-driven innovations it enables impact from economical, ethical, environmental, social and legal perspectives. Therefore, we create space for experiments on the intersection of art, science and technology and translate the outcomes into inspiration, strategic implications and responsible innovations.

We act as partners for the development of artistic prototypes into art-driven innovations and share their trans-formative potential, while building a network of forward looking, 21st century thinkers and doers. To do so, we created the method – Art-Driven Innovation, which guides us in our innovation projects, collection, experiments and research, focusing on breakthrough technologies in the domains of next generation internet, materials for a sustainable future and biotech.

Art on the Blog

The topic of art and its relation to technological development is not new to the blog, several years ago we investigated nano-art, but the focus on how artistic involvement can influence trajectory, and move towards responsibility is new and exciting.

The artworks section of the explainer site offers some fantastic examples of technology/science/innovation/art fusion.

A very thought-provoking project with an entertaining pair of websites, why not take a look? Technological development and art have always had close connections after all.

Just think about Leonardo da Vinci!

Part 3, The Academic Approach to Responsible Innovation

In part 3 of this series we return to chapter 2 of the downloadable book.

Academic Books about Responsible Innovation

If we want to get an overview of the academic approach, we have to start with the first collection of articles in English: Responsible Innovation, Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society, published in 2013 and edited by Richard Owen, John Bessant and Maggie Heintz . This collection set the groundwork by addressing many of the themes that were to follow:

1. Identifying and managing the risks of innovation in the present and future

2. Building reflexive capacity into science and innovation to identify and manage the unanticipated wider impacts of innovation

3. Opening up dialogue around innovation and emerging technologies to understand wider acceptability and public concerns

4. Regulation, governance and adaptive management

5. Key questions regarding the concepts of responsibility, accountability and liability.

The book includes the influential concept of Value Sensitive Design from Jeroen van den Hoven that I mentioned in part one of this series alongside addressing the fundamental issues of governance, problems of communicating science, debate and dialogue, anticipation and hype.

A further font of publication has been the S.NET group. S.NET is the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies, with their series of publications leading the way with an entire collection related to the governance of science and scientific research.

The International Handbook on Responsible Innovation is the newest collection, edited by Rene von Schomberg and myself. Released in 2019, the handbook gathers together 65 authors and 36 chapters bringing together the main developments within the field since its inception.

The publishers Springer have a book series called Responsible Innovation that offers articles based upon work presented at a series of responsible innovation conferences hosted by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Many of the authors are Dutch, reflecting the importance of the Netherlands in the development of a particular standpoint on RI born from its governmental funded Responsible Innovation project.

Themes Addressed

One of the themes that is prevalent in the academic debate (and also from an EU perspective, something that I will look at in part 4), is public deliberation and involvement in the research process. As the field of responsible innovation has developed, this topic has become a core issue, as the idea that innovation should work for the public good must be based on an understanding of what the public want. This is not an unproblematic field however, as politics and power relations play their respective roles, and lots of literature has aimed to raise these issues (see the book chapter for further details).

A further group of researchers have embarked upon ethnographic fieldwork in order to find some answers to various questions about what actually happens if researchers aim to put a responsible innovation process into practice in real life settings, recounting their experiences (including about how their actions were interpreted by those involved).

Factors that come up include material barriers to participation and various issues related to the difficulty of stakeholder involvement, language and communication, politics, power, selection of public, alongside a host of others that are typical to the social sciences in general.

Journal of Responsible Innovation

As the name suggests, this journal is dedicated to responsible innovation. It is currently in its seventh volume, and represents about a third of all journal publications that address the issue of responsible innovation. From January 2021 the journal will be open access (it currently contains a mix of open access and paywall articles), containing articles from across the field that address all of the aspects so far discussed and much more from a host of different perspectives and standpoints.

The Bassetti Foundation website contains a series of reviews of the journal (each article is summarized), all of which are available here.

Several other journals publish academic articles about responsible innovation, names and details are available in the book.

Summary

There is a lot of academic literature out there, much of which is available open access. The field is very wide and multidisciplinary which means there is great variety. The academic field is only one of many within responsible innovation though, next week we will look at another, European governance approaches and policies regarding research funding.