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The life of plants.

The crucial factor in artist Claire Davies' new work, Wonderland, is the scale. These white lines are the tiny patterns found on the surface of a plant petal, invisible to the naked eye. They were originally 100 nanometres wide (a human hair is around 50,000 nanometres) but have been scaled up massively to be projected on the outside of Sunderland's National Glass Centre.

The projection, Wonderland, stems from a residency Claire carried out at Northumbria University's Advanced Materials Research Institute, where scientists are working with nanotechnology.

Claire looked at the surface of a plant petal through an atomic force microscope, and used a probe similar to a record player stylus to map the petal surface. She then abstracted and animated the resulting topographical lines of the petal.

These lines have been scaled up to create four panels of projection for the Glass Centre. The organic lines draw themselves on the building's faiade layer by layer, and extend across the river through surface reflections of light.

Claire, from Durham, says: "The idea was to make artwork using the technology that scientists use in nanotechnology. This technology can allow you to see what you can't see with the naked eye. I wanted to take something very simple and explain an element of it.

"Wonderland is like a nano-landscape or a mini landscape. I wanted simple bold lines to complement the structure of the Glass Centre."

The title is inspired by Lewis Carroll's concept of animated and talking flowers. Claire adds: "I was into the wonderlandish realm of what you can't see with the naked eye."

j Wonderland is at the National Glass Centre from March 2-April 30.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2006
Words:276
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