“As we bridge the divide between art and science, my endeavor is to show how artists use science to make their fantasies real and palpable; and how science uses the arts in the same way.” -Carla Ciuffo
As an artist in residence at Harvard University, in collaboration with the Disease and Biophysics Group, Carla Ciuffo has developed a new project entitled, “Nano . Stasis Cosmic Garden & the Little Black Dress.” Her recent series of work flaunts groundbreaking nanofiber technology in an effort to highlight a symbiosis between art and science.
Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D. has pioneered research involving rotary jet spinning production of nanofibers and fabrics. His nanfibers are a significant step forward in the realm of biomedical engineering. This technology has the potential to be integrated into a broad spectrum of radical new applications, from tissue regeneration to advanced performance fibers in fashion.
Ciuffo had the honor of being the first layperson to work with Parker’s fibers. Alongside graduate student, Nina Sinatra, Ciuffo has developed tiny nanofiber canvases to be imprinted with her own artwork. Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, Ciuffo is able to create large acrylic composites to showcase the delicate and whimsical side of these fibers. She’s also been developing portraiture of models wearing sharp angled garments, inspired by Cartesian geometries, to demonstrate the concept of “neurofashion” with nanofibers. A combination of these artworks, paired with an educational component narrating the versatile technology of the new nanofibers composes this futuristic traveling multi-media exhibit.
While art cannot directly communicate scientific fact, it is capable of creating dialogue. Art challenges science to consider the role of its own narrative, as well as the visual impact of scientific images. Art serves to recontextualize science, adding a conversation with cultural values. Science often prescribes a systematic way of thought and communication, while the arts promote nontraditional and creative processes useful to research. The combination of the two subjects promotes their relevance and generates more impactful content.