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How to Accommodate to the Invisible? The ‘halo’ of ‘nano’

By csep - Posted on 17 November 2011

TitleHow to Accommodate to the Invisible? The ‘halo’ of ‘nano’
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBontems, Vincent Karim
Pagination175 - 183
Date Published8/2011
ISSN Number1871-4765
KeywordsAccomodation, Bachelard, Barthes, Halo, Images, Invisible, Life Cycle, Phenomenotechnic, Public Perception, Simondon, Transduction

Nanotechnologies produce many different types of images but are characterized by the ones that allow us to ‘see the atoms’ despite the fact that objects at the nanoscale are smaller than the wavelength of light and hence are ‘invisible’. Images from scanning probe microscopy (SPM), like ‘The Beginning’, have played an emblematic role in the constitution of the field and are also more likely to be used in communication outside the scientific field. These images are made, selected, modified and evaluated with respect to the information that they communicate. The ‘life cycle’ of these images implies the transduction of this information. Outside of the scientific field, however, they are no longer defined by this information, nor according to technical and scientific criteria, but by their aesthetic power, and they become associated with other images from other fields (art, advertisement, entertainment). This process creates a psycho-social ‘halo’ about ‘nano’ in the public perception, and raises ethical issues about nanotechnological communication via images. We will analyze the halo of the nano in this respect and propose a strategy for a reflexive ‘accommodation’ to the images at the nanoscale.

Short TitleNanoethics