Spirited Skies project: Silica aerogel in art and design applications

Ioannis Michaloudis, Matthew Van Roden

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    This comparative study on two interdisciplinary artistic practices aims to improve public perception of scientific research and to facilitate informed decision making regarding climate change and how it affects everyday life. It also hopes to break down (or bridge?) the isolated silos of Art and Science, by emphasizing the role of imagination as a tool of creation and innovation in the new economies of the 21st century. Notwithstanding the ephemeral appearance of the super-light nanomaterial silica aerogel used by Ioannis Michaloudis (Michalous) in his sculptures, the longevity of some of his art seems guaranteed: two works, Bottled Nymph and Noli Me Tangere have been selected to be rocketed to the moon as part of the MoonArk sculpture. The sculptures will be aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2018 from Cape Kennedy in an Astrobotic Robotic Lunar Mission, and will remain on the moon, potentially, for billions of years. Spirited Skies is a project where we experience by touching other forms of longevity of the ephemeral silica aerogel. Filling double jacketed borosilicate glass vials with aerogel skies and clouds in a unique way, Michaloudis transforms every day's life trivial objects into art. And whilst Michaloudis is seeding the heavens and landing his artwork onto the moon, a Masters student under his supervision, Matthew van Roden is waxing and waning back here on earth. Van Roden's material of choice is wax, which he pushes through various artistic disciplines to extrapolate its flesh like qualities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3491-3497
    Number of pages7
    JournalMRS Advances
    Issue number57
    Early online date11 May 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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