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Art and nanotechnology at the new museum Bar-Ilan University

Unlike a traditional museum, The Fetter Nanoscience and Art Museum at Bar-Ilan University enables visitors to wander across different buildings to access the eight displays that make up New Languages, making the experience itself beyond memorable. Below is an overview of the eight different exhibits.

From afar, artist Mahmood Kaiss and Professor Adi Salomon’s spectacle looks like a gate or even an arch of some sort, that could easily pass as a sculpture exhibit in itself, based on its remarkable beauty and innovation. Designed to introduce viewers to the nano-metric and comprised of wood, these arches use carbon nanotubes.

The molecules can also change based on the severity of the sunlight, which helps to connect the architectural feel of the structure and its relationship to nanotechnology. This exhibit allows audiences of any age to understand the clear connection between art and science, making it both accessible and engaging.

Following a single drop of water, may sound insignificant to the average museum-goer. However, when artist Eili Levy found herself in a period of anxiety, she wanted to depict these innermost feelings creatively. Referred to as hydrophobia in science, the drop is meant to represent the rollercoaster that is our lives while simultaneously highlighting how water responds to stress and variable conditions.

Yet, this journey would not be possible without the team of researchers who were able to ensure that the drop was not absorbed through the journey due to its hydrophobic coating. Spectators are easily able to identify with the drop, making the exhibit one of the more poignant moments in the exhibition.

Upon first glance, Caroline Maxwell’s painting may look like your average animal painting on sandpaper. Yet, the painting itself led to some unexpected scientific discoveries following its completion. Having finished it a few years ago, some recent discoloring and changes were revealed which prompted researchers to begin studying how both salt and crystals influenced these color variations.

Using salt from both the Dead Sea and Salt Lake City, audiences can easily see the crystallization of the painting. This exhibit may not be the most fascinating visually, yet the history behind its journey shows how science can reveal itself even in the most unexpected and unintentional of ways.

Artist Ella Goldman felt disconnected from her past home in Poland and current life in Israel. Using motors, wood, controllers, fluorescent dyes, and light sources, she created a sequence of molecules. This visual experience is attempting to mimic the diagnosis of cancer and the precision and accuracy of diagnoses. Yet, Goldman also explains how it is a reflection on our pasts and future, both in our lives and in advancements in medical technology.

In the lab, Prof. Dror Fixler conducted studies on identifying diseases based on wavelengths on molecules, and how the nanoparticles respond. This idea, called fluorescence, proves the remarkable connection between artistic expression and scientific discovery.

For artist Elad Shniderman and Dr. Shay Tirosh’s exhibit Copper Rain, participants are asked to peer into a tinted and stained window. Meant as an analogy for the impossibility of identical experiences, the exhibit also has music playing throughout the experience, only furthering this clever metaphor. Using crystallization of copper in a cell, this exhibit signifies the overproduction in our world. At times, the music, sounds and tints in the panel can feel overbearing which only mirrors how the state of our world can feel. One of the more reflective exhibits in the museum, Copper Rain allows us to look inward while exploring both art and science.

Easily the most memorable exhibit of the museum, projections of 16 violinists came on-screen in a panoramic setting while audiences were seated in a sheltered panoramic tent. The exhibit was meant to signify how differences in synchronizations can either confirm or challenge chaos theory and how we choose to accept or ignore the information that we are presented with daily. Yet, its implications for 2021 extended beyond chaos theory and into the realm of fake news. How do we tune out unnecessary noise? How do we undo what we thought was true? Elad Shniderman and Prof. Moti Fridman were able to craft a truly captivating experience using the power of music to provide insight into chaos theory.

Through the innovative use of an ample supply of rubber bands, Varid Bobrow and Orit Shefi sought to explore the neuroplasticity of neurons. The result is a remarkable examination of the brain. When we learn new things our brain grows and expands, similar to how a rubber band might expand. Yet, with periods of idleness, the brain remains stagnant. The elastics in this piece beautifully capture the phenomenon of neuroplasticity of the brain. Great for audiences of all ages, the exhibit shows how something as simple as elastic can teach us fascinating theories on how our brains work.

What seems like a rotating and scrolling slew of texts in a variety of languages, is actually an optical illusion of stagnant text. Meant to show the beginning of the universe as well as sacred texts, the optical illusion allows spectators to attempt to interpret differing understandings of the universe. Each text will never intersect with the others, mirroring how in real life, often our perspectives fail to align with others. Created by Emanuele Della Tore and artist Israel Hadany, the texts range from Maxwell’s formulas to Kabbalistic texts, to theories from Stephen Hawking, making it likely that each viewer can find identification with one of the texts being presented.

Jordan Pike