Penn State Materials Research Institute (University Park)

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Macroscope is a merging of Penn State Materials Research Institute’s (MRI) work with Encoded Objects’ creative practice. Echoing the close analysis and synthesis that MRI does within the walls of its building, the piece inverts the direction of analysis and transforms the building into a “macroscope” that visualizes the MRI community. The windows above the lobby continuously record the passage of the community through the entrance to the building, feeding into an abstract colorful timelapse projection that grows in a 2D crystalline pattern reminiscent of MRI’s materials research, inspired by graphene and the concept of 2D materials. The piece reveals an unfamiliar view of a familiar space through seeing it at a different temporal scale, echoing how many of MRI’s techniques reveal hidden features by looking at materials at different scales and through different modalities.

Every 9 – 10 minutes, a new 2D hexagonal crystal forms. The piece oscillates between a “live” view, in which each hexagon’s color is drawn from the real-time camera feed at that moment it attaches to the growing crystal, and historical views, in which the hexagon’s colors are sampled from an ever-growing historical catalog of the garden view. Under certain lighting conditions (especially at night), interior reflections appear on the window within the camera’s eye – adding layers of complexity and abstraction to the projection’s imagery. Because of the way this process functions, over the course of the entire year as the piece continues to evolve, no two crystals grown will ever be the same.

Bob Cornwall, Managing Director
Jen McCann, Marketing & Multimedia Manager
Walt Mills, Communications Coordinator
Dave Fecko, MRI Industry Relations ManagerSUPPORTERS AND PARTICIPANTS
Clive Randall, Director, Materials Research Institute, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Ismaila Dabo, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Kevin Dressler, Operations & User Facilities Director and Affiliate
Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
Jeff Shallenberger, Technical Lead, Surface Analysis Group at Materials Characterization Lab
Kristen Dreyer, Education and Outreach Administration
Seana Wood, Videographer
Sarah Eichfeld, Facilities Coordinator
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