ART STUFF on a train # 13: ‘ Minimum Values’

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

White Cube’s Masons Yard summer show includes six of Martin John Callanan’s striking series ‘The Fundamental Units’. Callanan uses thousands of exposures via a 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory to achieve intensely detailed (400 million pixels) images of the lowest denomination coins, here printed at over 50 times life-size. This elevation of the near-worthless reveals the construction and traces of circulation invisible to the naked eye. It also has a mournful aspect, as many of lowest value coins (Callanan has captured 16 of the 166 currently in use) will doubtless be withdrawn from circulation soon enough. As you can see at www.greyisgood.eu, Callanan has good form for obsessive projects, such as taking 2,000 photographs of floors in important buildings with restricted public access .

‘The Fundamental Units’ reminded me of a similarly-sourced but psychologically contrasting series : Moyra Davey’s late 80s series of 100 ‘Copperheads’, which concentrate on one coin – the US one cent – to show the range of scratching, rusting and tarnishing inflicted on the most famous American. These, focusing on one national economy at a time of recession – and currently on display at Tate Liverpool during the next recession – become harder to read as the damage tends towards abstraction. But then, isn’t the whole convention of money an abstraction of sorts?

Originally posted on FAD

Back-to-basics money shot shows a cent’s battle scars – New Scientist


The euro has taken a bit of a battering of late – and not just in the financial markets. As you can see for yourself above, the surface of a 1-cent coin, while smooth to the naked eye, is pitted and scarred when viewed through a powerful microscope.

 

To create this image, artist Martin John Callanan, a fellow at University College London based in the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art, worked with Ken Mingard, Petra Mildeova and Eric Bennett at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory in London. The team used an optical microscope to create images of the lowest-denomination coins used in Australia, Burma, Swaziland and Chile, as well as the transnational euro. They took standard coins that had been in circulation and left the microscope to make 4000 tiny exposures overnight. It then took three days of processing to stitch these images together to create each final, 400-million-pixel version. The zoomable picture above is a low-resolution version.

 

The coin images are part of an ongoing series called The Fundamental Units in which Callanan explores “the atoms that shape the global economy”. Ultimately, the series will encompass all 166 of the world’s active currencies that use coins. The first five are on display as 1.2-by-1.2-metre prints, along with more of Callanan’s works, at the Galleria Horrach Moyà in Mallorca, Spain, until 17 January 2013.

Physics & Math, Picture of the Day, Science In Society

Sumit Paul-Choudhury, editor, 16:05 4 December 2012

Top