The material results of my experiments to date: a bucket of MOFs.
Through the processes of producing these chemicals, as described in the posts below, I have been chasing the essence of these materials, and I feel like I am back at the beginning, like a snake chasing its tail! I have synthesised perhaps unique chemicals and novel phenomena, but the goal of manifesting some kind of MOF essence is ever elusive – the actual reactions and chemical synthesis basically occurs on the molecular level and is completely imperceptible.
The unique qualities of the MOF molecules are manifested when other substances interact with them. The dynamic topologies of the MOF surfaces is perhaps the key to engaging with them, both materially and conceptually. In “matter matters“, Manuel Delanda describes such sites of material interaction: “the surface of any material object is the site at which one type of matter interfaces with another, and therefore the place where interfacial phenomena take place. (Because of this) exotic material behavior should occur … on all physical surfaces.”
On a level that is hopefully more than metaphor, collaborations such as mine are the interacting surfaces between the traditionally
distinct material practices of art and science. Yet a question has remained unanswered throughout my residency at the CSIRO – during these experiments, has there been a synthesis of art and science?
In a way that is somehow symbolic, across the room from my little experimental setup, the obscure vessel that arrived on the first day of my residency (see post) still hasn’t been able to be opened, and its chemical contents remain a mystery!