Two Installations in Calit2 Gallery Envisage Future of Nanoparticles and Distributed Social Cinema

SPECFLIC 2.6   Installation by Adriene Jenik
Particles of Interest   Installation by *particle group*

San Diego, CA, July 22, 2008 -- Two new-media art installations that caution visitors about a future when books are relics of the past, and nanoparticles represent a pervasive threat to human health, are on display through October 3 at the gallery @ calit2 on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.

A panel discussion about the technological and societal issues raised in the exhibition will take place on October 2, from 4:30pm to 6pm, in Atkinson Hall's Calit2 Auditorium. [Click here for gallery hours.] The panel will feature three of the artists (Adriene Jenik, Ricardo Dominguez and Nina Waisman) as well as two experts in the technologies evoked in the exhibition: UCSD chemistry and biochemistry professor Michael Sailor, who has developed tiny environmental sensors; and Robin Chandler, program manager for the UC San Diego Libraries' Digital Library Program. The panel discussion will be followed by a closing reception on the first floor of Atkinson Hall from 6pm to 8pm.

The joint exhibition features two distinct installations by different artists:

  • "SPECFLIC 2.6" by UC San Diego Visual Arts professor Adriene Jenik; and
  • "Particles of Interest" by *particle group*, an art collective composed of independent and UCSD-based artists and writers,  including Ricardo Dominguez, Nina Waisman, Diane Ludin and Amy Sara Carroll.

The gallery is part of the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). 


Today accessibility to information is a combination of video, image and text, informed in large part by the language of film and the literary novel. Adriene Jenik, in her ongoing project SPECFLIC, currently in version 2.6, explores the evolution of film language as “Distributed Social Cinema.” Using multiple screens, from cell phone interfaces to large image projections, Jenik layers media and technology forms. SPECFLIC 1.0 premiered at the dedication of Atkinson Hall as Calit2’s headquarters on the UCSD campus in 2005; SPECFLIC 2.0, hosted by the San Jose Public Library, was a featured event at ISEA06/ZeroOne San Jose in 2006.

In SPECFLIC's imagined world of 2030, the InfoSpherian is a digital version of the reference desk librarian.
For the gallery@calit2, Jenik offers the public a speculative, futuristic reality taking place in the year 2030, in which people access the “InfoSphere” to learn about books that are only available to the public in electronic form.  In SPECFLIC 2.6, books exist as rare objects that can only be described by the InfoSpherian, who is a rough equivalent to today’s reference-desk librarian. Gallery visitors will be able use their cell phones to share their reflections on the future of the book and the library.

“Granted the opportunity for networked interaction within the gallery, for SPECFLIC 2.6 I have rethought the installation to integrate audience contributions,” said Jenik. “So the project is very much evolving in response to what I learn from each previous iteration, as well as the opportunities afforded by the space, encounter with the audience, and technological framework.”

SPECFLIC 2.6 offers a plausible future that is in large part dependent on a network with defined boundaries that are modeled after, or part of, the Internet. 

Particles of Interest

“Particles of Interest” reflects on nanotechnology, which has no clear boundaries because it links humans to machines in ways that are beyond binary networks.  Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field at the crux of scientific research and corporate investment.  Research on nanoparticles has led to the commercial development of products such as improved rubber tires, coating in glass that makes it easier to clean, improved water filtration systems, sunscreen lotions and much more. At the same time, there has been little consideration of the health implications of nano-products.

Particles of Interest Bromine Atoms
Nanoparticles: bromine atoms are chemical elements that are harmful to human tissue in a liquid state and their vapor irritates eyes and throat.
The *particle group* installation allows visitors to learn about growing concern with nanoparticles in public health. Videos comment on the production of nanotechnology, and visitors learn about nanoparticles on skin or clothing as they interact with sculptural devices.

Each iteration of the “Particles of Interest” project has been, as much as possible, site-specific. “This version of the piece functions as an access route to Calit2’s gallery, so we became interested in the pedestal and the host of scripts it serves in the gallery or museum,” said the artists. “Pedestals are used to elevate that which the institution has designated to be of value… and here in the Nano3 labs at Calit2, we find the laboratory cousin of the pedestal – the clean white (or aluminum) counter, whose contents may only be intimately accessed by professionals. Visitors to Calit2’s nanolabs are positioned to watch skilled nanolab professionals perform a range of interactions with nanoparticles. In our piece, we wanted our ‘unskilled’ visitors to perform this meeting with the untouchable in a different way. We wanted to bring the clean room and the gallery pedestal together, to see what they might have to say to each other.” 



Adriene Jenik is a telecommunications media artist who lives in Southern California.  Her works combine "high" technology and human desire to propose new forms of literature, cinema and performance.  Career highlights include works in live television, including EL NAFTAZTECA (w/Guillermo Gomez-Pena), interactive cinema  in MAUVE DESERT : A CD-ROM Translation, and the Internet street theater of DESKTOP THEATER (w/Lisa Brenneis and the Desktop Theater troupe). Her current research continues her interest in wireless community media and new storytelling forms. Jenik is currently developing SOCIAL SPHERE, a spatialized cinema program, and (with collaborator Charley Ten) the performance platform "Open Dancefloor." An  associate professor of Computer & Media Arts in UCSD’s Visual Arts department, Jenik is an affiliated researcher with Calit2 and the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) at UCSD.

Particles of Interest

*particle group* has exhibited at ISEA (San Jose) 2006, House of World Culture (Berlin) 2007, “Inside the Wave” at the San Diego Museum of Art 2008, and FILE (Brazil) 2008. It is a collective consisting of Principal Investigators Ricardo Dominguez (an assistant professor of Visual Arts at UCSD, affiliated with Calit2) and Diane Ludin, as well as Principal Researchers Nina Waisman (Interactive Sound Installation Design) and Amy Sara Carroll, with a number of others flowing in and out. 

  • Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed Virtual-Sit-In technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas , Mexico . He was co-Director of The Thing ( an ISP for artists and activists from 2000 to 2004, as well as Senior Editor from 1996 to 1999. He is a former member of Critical Art Ensemble. Ricardo's performances have been presented in museums, galleries, theater festivals, hacker meetings, tactical media events and as direct actions on the streets and around the world.
  • Diane Ludin is a writer, media artist and educator. Born in New York, she studied Drawing and Installation at the State University of New York at Purchase (1989-1993) and Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts in (1998-2000). As an artist, she has participated in exhibitions and events such as New York Digital Salon 2001, Ars Electronica 2002, DEAF 2003, ISEA 2004 and 2006, Whitney ArtPort 2004, Medialabmadrid 2005 and Nomadic New York in Berlin , 2006. Ludin has completed online commissions for The Walker Art Center, New Radio and Performing Arts, Franklin Furnace, and The Alternative Museum. She has held Artist Residencies for the World Views program in 2000 and Harvestworks in 2004. She is currently a lecturer in the MFA Computer Art Department of New York’s School of Visual Arts.
  • Nina Waisman's work considers sonic and gestural forms of control and communication, provoked by technology's disruption of the body's space and time. Her production ranges from interactive sound-and-sculpture installations to blind-embossed prints of weaponry morphing into modernist form. She has exhibited in Los Angeles, Berlin, Yokahama, New York, San Diego, Budapest, Dallas, San Francisco, Long Beach, and online. Currently she is working on a piece for El Cubo, the new International Wing of the CECUT in Tijuana, while finishing her MFA degree in Visual Arts at UCSD. She has had a blast at UCSD, and at CRCA!
  • Amy Sara Carroll is assistant professor of Latina/o Studies in the English Department and the Program of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; she received a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University (2004), an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Cornell University (1995), an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2003), and an A.B. in Anthropology and Creative Writing from Princeton University (1990). In 2005-2006, Carroll held a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in Latino/a Studies and English at Northwestern University .  Her poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies such as Talisman, Carolina Quarterly, The Iowa Review, among many others. She has served as either an artist- or writer-in-residence at the Saltonstall Arts Colony in Ithaca, New York, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Fundación Valparaíso in Mojácar, Spain. Additionally, Carroll translated and created subtitles and visual poems for Claudio Valdés Kuri’s theatrical production El automóvil gris (The Grey Automobile), which was performed at several venues, including the Anglo Mexico Foundation, the Ebert Film Festival, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Related Links

Particles of Interest

Media Contacts

Media Contact: Eduardo Navas, or Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,