The artist intends to work with the data generated with the study of the main parameters such as size, shape, surface structure and chemical composition of the nanoparticle catalysts. He intends for his artwork to turn this concepts (very complex structure-properties;
The artwork will be presented in two different schemes: participatory and performative. In both cases vision, audio and interaction will play the main role. When in participatory form, suitable for exhibition spaces, participants will interact with the artwork through gestures, observation, and audition, with immersive and virtual reality technologies. When in performative version, the author will present the same artwork with a real-time narrative in mind. The performance version will be suitable for theatres, venues or auditoriums.
Sci-fi miners is an audio-visual exploration of the possibilities generated by the nanotechnological advances in the research of the replacement of critical materials, very rare on planet earth, by improved nanoparticle control. Those materials, critical metals, especially rare platinum group metals (PMGs), are essential and used for heterogeneous and electrochemical catalysis. At the Critcat project, researchers are exploring new ways to substitute those rare materials, in order to achieve optimal catalytic performance with earth-abundant materials. Those researchers are named the sci-fi miners, since the extraction of those rare materials is currently made by the mining industry, in deep caves located in a small number of regions in the world, in very low concentrations, especially in South Africa. Currently, many countries are deeply or even totally dependent on the mining industry to obtain these materials, relevant for fuel cells, storage of renewable energy, and for auto catalyst emissions control. For some strategic metals, the European Union in totally dependent on import. Nowadays we can obtain a few grams of platinum per ton of rock, and the extraction process is very expensive and long. Urgency is the word that can be given for this research. In the course of this residency João, the artist worked mainly at INL (International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory) with Yuri Kolenko and with other Critcat project partners, exploring the projects’ data generated nanoparticle parameters such as size, shape, surface structure, and computational simulations, to create audio-visual experiences, in virtual environments, intending to let the public know how significant this research is for humankind and for the sustainability of our planet.
Residency mid-term video
The technology and creativity developed in the course of this residence demonstrated interest and engagement by the researcher teams, and the new visual and interactive approaches inspired the CritCat research community, providing new visions and different scenarios of collaboration. At the end of his residency, the artist devoted some of his time transferring all the knowledge obtained to the different teams of scientists, including the source code and the methodologies he used in the creative process. The SIN group team acquired virtual reality equipment to take their research and visualization to new endeavours. Virtual technologies are relevant when one wants to access inaccessible spaces, especially in areas like nanotechnology, fostering new ways to explore undiscovered realities, expanding imagination, and the need to know more. This result was achieved with inter-disciplinary work where attention to detail was the most distinctive feature in the process, via creative activity and visual thinking. The introduction of a media artist in the team made possible new discussions related to the visualization of nanoclusters, since as the artist presented new prototypes, specifically in virtual reality, visual scenarios, although corresponding to simulations, gave rise to new thoughts and possibilities in the area of scientific representation.