Microscopic Sandcastles by Vik Muniz & Marcelo Coelho

São Paulo-born artist Vik Muniz (previously here, here, and here) collaborate with artist and MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho, to create a series of sandcastles etched onto individual grains of sand.

It took them over four years of trial and error to finish.

Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using a FIB (focused ion beam – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope.

Muniz first drew each castle using a camera lucida, a 19th century optical tool which projects whatever is in front of the artist onto paper to be traced. Then he sent the drawings to Coelho who use a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) which has the capability of creating a line only 50 nanometers wide (a strand of human hair is approximately 50,000 nanometers wide).

“When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.”

“I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.”

Check his website: vikmuniz.net/


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