Questionable Defensibility: Sandcastles on a Single Grain of Sand

sand-4Artist Vik Muniz decided over the last few years to downsize his operation and try to draw sand castles on a single grain of sand. It took him four years but it’s finally happening. Why would he do this? Because art!

The process of getting a sandcastle onto a speck of rock was anything but straightforward and involved over four years of trial and error utilizing both antiquated and highly technical methods. Muniz first drew each castle using a camera lucida, a 19th century optical tool that relies on a prism to project a reflection of whatever is in front of you onto paper where it can be traced. The drawings were then sent to Coelho who worked with a number of microscopic drawing processes for several years before deciding to use a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) which has the capability of creating a line only 50 nanometers wide (a human hair is about 50,000 nanometers wide).

Lastly, Muniz photographed the final etchings and enlarged them to wall-sized prints. He shared with the Creator’s Project: “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means,” a fascinating play on scale and perception.

I like that part, “Muniz photographed the final etchings and enlarged them to wall-sized prints.” Why go to an exhibit to see microscopic sand castles if I don’t get to risk some work of horrible eye infection by looking at them through a public microscope. I just don’t see the point. how do we know these aren’t just images you photo-shopped?

Hit the jump for more shots and a video.

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