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Steep is an art/science research project examining the impact nanotechnologies could have in the future. Designed as a multi-year, multidisciplinary project with a rotating cast of collaborators, Steep is based on the current state of scientific research and its flexibility as a project reflects the uncertain and disruptive state of nanoscience and nanotechnology (as they are sometimes referred to). 

In the absence of a visceral sensing of the atmospheric ocean of particles and cues which are in dynamic flux with perception, Steep combines art+ science+ technology to explore sensing nanotechnology, where it accumulates, changes over time, and how it may affect living beings and the environment. The intention in Steep is to work on perceptualisation of invisible airborne particles, through art works. 

We breathe the sky into ourselves. Synthetic molecules may not only change the way the world behaves, but may also change perception. If we could sense the fullness of the atmosphere could we know the meanings present in its cyphers?  

Could we smell the changes of Climate Change?

Steep#1 a digital poetry of gold nanoparticles. 2015. Raewyn Turner ( NZ) & MARYSE DE LA GIRODAY( CA)

4.31 minutes.
Steep#1 explores sensing gold nanotechnology, where it accumulates, changes over time, and how it may affect living beings and the environment. In the absence of a visceral sensing Steep brings attention to the possibilities of perceiving invisible airborne particles.

The rhetoric surrounding nanotechnology promises a contemporary alchemy for our intentions of power and domination over nature. ‘With...nanoengineering nature transforms these inexpensive, abundant and inanimate ingredients into self -generating, self-perpetuating, self-repairing, self-aware creatures that walk, wiggle, swim, see, sniff, think and even dream. Total value: immeasurable.’ (Nanotechnology: Shaping The World Atom By Atom, Interagency Working Group on Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology (IWGN).1999. )
Though humans have been exposed to nanosized particles throughout their evolutionary stages, the respective exposure has dramatically increased over the last century due to contributions from various anthropogenic sources. In addition, the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology … may also influence the atmospheric chemistry in general as their chemical composition and reactivity are different from coarser particles, thus opening novel chemical transformation pathways in the atmosphere.

The combination of text and visual image is designed as an accessible approach to communicating the impact for good and ill that gold and gold nanoparticles have had in the past and could have in the future.
A nonliteral interpretation of the text is offered by visuals that reference both poetic content and structure. For example, the moth on the hand is superpositioned moving between ascii text, particles and real images with the entirety signifying incomplete knowledge. Turner edited in Premiere and animated using Isadora an interactive graphical programming environment.
Written as a poetic trilogy (Yearning, Discovery, and Light/Shadow), the text references historical fact, myth, peer-reviewed science, risk, and one of the most well known lines in the history of English poetry.

Visuals, Editing   Raewyn Turner

Words     Maryse de la Giroday 

Video in the Mangroves    Brian Harris 

Soundtrack    Harley Rayner, Mt Eden

Presented at ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) 2015, Disruption. Vancouver, Canada.

CEINT website. September 2015

Archived at

Frogheart blog: Commentary about nanotech, science policy and communication, society, and the arts

Pratt School of Engineering

Duke Civil and Environmental Engineering

Thanks to ; Aulana carpet, The Royal BC Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum.  Lycurgus Cup images courtesy Trustees of the British Museum