Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wanna Vanta? It's blacker than hell and stronger than death...

This is your year, Wednesday, because SCIENZE did a thing.

Thanks to a Smarty McCalculuspants in jolly old England a new super black has been invented.  It's blacker than black.  It's called Vantablack and it does not fuck around.  

Vantablack is the darkest material ever produced absorbing all light except for .035%.  Charcoal absorbs all but 4% and my heart absorbs all but 2.3% if that gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here.  Basically, Vantablack is a stealer of light.  Probably souls too.  It's a Dementor.

It is also grown on tinfoil.  Dawww... that's kinda cute.  Would really add something exciting to my indoor container plants and seems like a natural fit with my BLACK THUMB.  


Actually, I'm pretty sure this is how the robot Dementor army is born...

Vanta is actually an acronym for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Array which is what happens when carbon nanotubes are 'grown' on foil using Satan's magic.  I interpreted this as a jizzillion tiny black holes woven into a fabric that you can buy off the bolt at Hancock's Fabrics soon right?  

This is gonna take my ninja game to a whole new level, y'all!

I'm a little obsessed because it's basically a fabric so dark it limits your perception to two dimensions.  Name a chintz that has that kind of power, I DARE YOU!

Okay maybe a toile but that's really a technicality...

And what better way to celebrate a scientific breakthrough than with contemporary art?  Art's resident void-lover Anish Kapoor has expressed an interest to work with this new fancy material.  I think this seems like a natural fit considering:



Untitled A


Void, 1989
Descent into Limbo B, 1992
Hole much?  

If you're like me then the first you thought of (besides a beautiful Nightmare of Infinite Wednesday Addams Ninjas) is that Vantablack would be perfect for Acme Portable Holes made famous by criminal masterminds like Roger Rabbit and Wile E. Coyote.

And that's exactly what artist Tom Estes created in 2012 when he made his 'Portable Black Hole' using the darkest carbon nanotube material ever created at THAT time.

Honestly, I thought those tourists were a different art installation they are so perfect.
It absorbed .045% of all light. 

That poor scientist is like the guy on Price is Right whose bid becomes worthless after the asshole next to him bids $1 more.

No Showcase Showdown for you, sir.

I've heard nothing about what Kapoor is going to do but one million dollars says it's a hole and people will call it spiritual and a brilliant commentary on the future or it's "intended as a reminder of the multiple, idiosyncratic pockets of forgotten histories; of absence and the unseen and unrepresented; multiple conflicting realities that exist side by side with official or recorded 'histories.'"  Oh wait that's what someone said about Tom Estes' hole.

They shoulda just left it at a fun hybrid of science and toons because I feel like that might be more accurate in this case.

Interestingly enough, another artist is working with the 'blacker than black' concept. Frederick de Wilde is working with NASA on some different carbon nanotube technology.  No word on his percentages yet...

"Klein's first artwork was drawing in the blue sky, my dream is to draw in deep space."
Now this art scientist describes his work as being heavily influenced by the work of Kazimir Malevich (no idea) and his invention of Suprematism - the "supremacy of pure artistic feeling" - as well as Russian mystic-mathematician-philosophers (is there any other kind of mystic-mathematician-philosophers?), the idea of "going beyond zero," Stanley Kubrick, Yves Klein's blue, Anish Kappor (hey hey!) and a lot of other really smart talk on contemporary (nano) art.  There's no mention of a robot Dementor army in embryo form but the whole article is worth a read.

He says he views his "nano engineered macroscopic art pieces as spaces of refusal, but also as spaces of imagination."  Despite the next sentence being something about us living in a media-saturated environment (ugh. gag me with a spoon, I hear that shit every day) I'm feeling some things about this way more than that "pockets of forgotten histories" jackoff noise.

Spaces of refusal... I mean, gotdamn!

I don't know maybe sometimes black holes can change the perception of space and time or maybe sometimes they are cartoons or sometimes they are just delicious cups of strong coffee and all equally important depending on what time of day it is and how much of the latter I've had to drink.

Or maybe it's all the same and I'm an uncultured swine but irregardless let's get ready for a Large Hadron Collider wallpaper collection coming soon!

Fun factoid: when I visited Germany last January for a design conference several speakers talked about the emergence of 'darkness' as an upcoming trend.  (Think big global movement not 'barf, chevrons.')  More than just the color black they described it as an engineered 'tension' which sounds delightfully ominous and maybe why I'm so obsessed by this material.  

Also, the NYT reported that Donald Kaufman announced black as the color of the month for November (oh we're doing colors of the month now?) so maybe it's starting...!  

I find trend forecasting to be incredibly fascinating so this might be absolute bullshit to you and that's okay.   But next time you see a neo-goth-warrior-princess-from-the-future editorial in Korean Vogue or have a good cup of black coffee maybe it'll make you pause...

...and think about watching Roger Rabbit because that shit was good please RIP Bob Hoskins.

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