Curtin Design lecturer Dr Ioannis Michaloudis combined art and science through the use of silica aerogel in his recent exhibition titled, ‘On Cloud Seven’.
Silica Aerogel is the lightest solid ever produced, comprised of 99.9% air and 0.1% glass and is nicknamed ‘frozen smoke’ or ‘solid air’ for its ultra-light, wispy-cloud appearance. NASA uses silica Aerogel as a spacecraft heat insulator and to capture ‘stardust’ from the tails of comets.
Dr Michaloudis considers silica aerogel to be a personification of ‘our breaking sky’ and his artworks represent a potential scientific response to the destruction of the ozone layer. Michaloudis has worked with scientists at NASA and MIT on the potential use of aerogel in the creation of habitable atmospheres on other planets.
“Imagine an astronaut on a space-walk scattering fragments of silica aerogel into space, and these sky-spores growing into new atmospheres on other planets and making them habitable, “ says Dr Michaloudis, “The artworks are presented as an allegory for how scientists could see the world from an artistic point of view.”