Issue 5
Monday, 24 April 2017
Charles Darwin University
Dr Ioannis Michaloudis and Bronwyn Dann with Stairway to Heaven sculpture (inset)
Dr Ioannis Michaloudis and Bronwyn Dann with Stairway to Heaven sculpture (inset)

Visual arts out of this world at CDU

By Andrew Hall

Senior lecturer in visual arts Dr Ioannis Michaloudis highlighted the relationship between art and science at a conference in Phoenix, Arizona last Friday.

His invitation from the Materials Research Society stemmed from his use of a NASA-developed nanomaterial called silica aerogel to create art and sculptures.

“This material is like the personification of art itself; it is very ethereal, like frozen smoke, but it is also very tough,” Dr Michaloudis said.

“NASA uses it to capture stardust and to protect electronic equipment from extreme temperature fluctuations in space.

“I was the lone artist presenting at the conference and I talked about how to combine the mythological basis of art with the methodological foundations of science to find creative new perspectives in discovery.” 

Dr Michaloudis  said the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts had provided a $24,000 grant in 2016 for his ongoing research into the artistic applications of silica aerogel; a sum that would be matched in 2017.

Earlier this month Dr Michaloudis and visual arts PhD candidate Bronwyn Dann published a paper in the US Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology about the way space exploration had changed people’s perspectives about the world and themselves.

“In the paper we discuss the way this new perspective has influenced innovative art-making practices in terms of scale, space, colour and pattern in our artistic history,” Dr Michaloudis said.

Images of two of his silica aerogel sculptures have been rendered on to sapphire discs and will be included in the MoonArk Sculpture that will be placed on the moon after blasting off in the near future in a robotic lunar lander aboard a Space-X Falcon 9 rocket.