The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York is hosting an exhibition titled Design and the Elastic Mind featuring artworks influenced, and often created, by science.
From a statement by MOMA:
In the past few decades, individuals have experienced dramatic changes in some of the most established dimensions of human life: time, space, matter, and individuality. Working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, gleefully drowning in information, acting fast in order to preserve some slow downtime, people cope daily with dozens of changes in scale. Minds adapt and acquire enough elasticity to be able to synthesize such abundance. One of design’s most fundamental tasks is to stand between revolutions and life, and to help people deal with change. Designers have coped with these displacements by contributing thoughtful concepts that can provide guidance and ease as science and technology evolve. Several of them—the Mosaic graphic user’s interface for the Internet, for instance—have truly changed the world. Design and the Elastic Mind is a survey of the latest developments in the field. It focuses on designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, changes that will demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and convert them into objects and systems that people understand and use.
The exhibition will highlight examples of successful translation of disruptive innovation, examples based on ongoing research, as well as reflections on the future responsibilities of design. Of particular interest will be the exploration of the relationship between design and science and the approach to scale. The exhibition will include objects, projects, and concepts offered by teams of designers, scientists, and engineers from all over the world, ranging from the nanoscale to the cosmological scale. The objects range from nanodevices to vehicles, from appliances to interfaces, and from pragmatic solutions for everyday use to provocative ideas meant to influence our future choices.
Being the simpletons that we are, our eyes were quickly attracted to the smiley faces built out of DNA base pairs by Paul W.K. Rothemund of Caltech, a technology that was reported by us before. From Rothemund ‘s website explaining the technique:
Lately, I have developed a method of creating nanoscale shapes and patterns using DNA. Each of the two smiley faces above, at right, are actually giant DNA complexes imaged with an atomic force microscope. Each is about 100 nanometers across (1/1000th the width of a human hair), 2 nanometers thick, and each is comprised of about 14,000 DNA bases. 7000 of these DNA bases belong to a long single strand, a DNA molecule that just happens to be the genome of the virus M13. The other 7000 of these bases belong to about 250 shorter strands, each about 30 bases long. These short strands fold the long strand into the smiley face shape. I call the method “scaffolded DNA origami”.
Exhibition page: Design and the Elastic Mind
More at the New York Times…
Top image caption: William M Shih, Clonable DNA Octahedron, 2004
“Molecular self-assembly offers a means of spontaneously forming complex and well-defined structures from simple components,” Shih explains. This model represents a single-strand DNA molecule that folds into an octahedron structure. “We used cryo-electron microscopy to show that the DNA strands fold successfully to form hollow octahedra approximately twenty-two nanometers in diameter,” he continues. The model represents an average of about one thousand particles and represents a magnification of four-million-fold.
(hat tip: bookofjoe)