COPPER NANOPARTICLES WITH A HOUSEHOLD BLENDER (2019 > ongoing)

The project Copper Nanoparticles with a Household Blender came to existence as a "side track" during the development of the ongoing Dec(l)ay project. Working with clay and ceramics during this Dec(l)ay project, I thought about the amazing sense of tactility fresh clay has. Everybody knows clay shrinks and becomes hard, as it loses its liquid throughout time. It eventually becomes hard and very fragile (yet very beautiful), until it will be fired in the kiln to transform into incredible strong material. A side not: during the exhibition at Quartair, more than a few people asked me: "Is there metal in the ceramics?" No, there is not.

 

Nevertheless, I wanted to find the answer to the question: Is there a way to prevent this transformation of the material? How could I find a way to maintain its tactility, its flexibility, even at the moment the clay would have eventually dried out? 

This curiosity lead me to the world of (bio)plastic and beyond that. I found out that bioplastic is very fashionable at this moment; with proclamations coming from different corners that this kind of materials is "new" or "experimental". I also learned that, for different reasons, these proclamations are not true.

For me, the most interesting thing that happened throughout the process, is the awareness about what material itself "says" about its own properties, how it should be treated, what it can handle and so on. Material itself speaks to its environment; it has agency. This awareness forced me to reflect about the choice of material during my previous project App(e)a(l)ling. This project, in which touch, interactivity (and technology) played the most prominent roles, I had chosen out of practical reasons for transparant silicone. Silicone has its own agency, however, it does not naturally invite us to touch it, to explore it with our hands and eyes. Without any doubt, this is the reason of the increasing contemporary field of soft or subtle robotics in which other materials are being explored and considered to increase the "natural" attraction of humans to interact with non-human actors.

With this new consciousness and the process of material research I am currently in, I have started to re-explore the combination between conductivity, electrical circuits and (bio)material. On a different (theoretical) level, I'm also questioning what material in itself actually is; something that goes beyond what can be touched.