Liquid Crystal AP1

September-October 2018

Gustav Metzger: Liquid Crystal Environment ( 1965/ remade 2005)

Liquid Crystal Environment (1965/2005)
Liquid Crystal Environment (1965/2005)

Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal

  • There is an old image of liquid crystal, it is an image of liquid turned crystal and crystal amid liquid.
  • It is known as ‘Sea of Ice’ by Capser David Freidrich (1823-4) and it depicts to the polar sea found in the outermost North.
  • The Sea of Ice depicts expanses of ice amid seawater frozen under a frozen sky. Above the horizon there is only the tiniest hint of warmth.
  • Depicted here is natures ability and power to crush. Nature is the agent in this scene and the tiny human is its object, is fatality is unrepresented in this scene.
  • The Sea of Ice provides no dramatic visions of boiling, raging sea, of lightning flashes, howling storms of sudden avalanches.
  • The image shows a scene that is frozen and still, an image of an afterwards, a drama completed.
  • It appears to be a silent scene, because of the implied immobility of the frozen ice, those huge blocks of solid water stuck in what seems to be another time and space, one without motion or sound- though polar ice reacting to changes in temperature may, in fact, creak, screech, howl and whine and matter is never still.
  • Time’s liquidity is stilled. Specific location is replaced by a crystallization of space and the shelf (pg 10.)
  • The vagueness of place suggests the horrid insight that at all times, and in all places, nature opposes and wrecks us.
  • Perhaps the image represents, in oblique form, a sense of the earth as a place of interplay between the liquid and the crystalline (pg 11).
  • The earth is both crystal and water, a liquid crystal: ‘The earth is the crystal which discharges its superfluous water. Here the liquid and the crystal, the sea and the ice enact drama between themselves- the humans its victims or mere observers.
  • As humans, what se wee, or imagine is the consumption of everything by emptiness, void time and space, in the abstract.
  • There is an abstraction of live into a cold token, the metal or money. Money is liquid and crystal all at one. It is something that circulates, its fluid, mobile a flowing lubricant that makes life slippery, it greases the relations that are structured by it.
  • The liquid crystal ball that is the earth is ever changing, ever moving between its liquid and crystal forms, metaphors and dreams.
  • The form that is Freidrich’s canvas, with its coolly objective modernity and perfect fantasy of concocted reality, reappears in the contemporary technology of the liquid crystal display screen- and, standing before the oil painting, the viewer may be struck by the fact that its dimensions and framing resemble nothing so much as a 32 flat screen TV.
  • The painting resembles a kitsch-sublime display image on and LCD TV or frame from a digitally post-processed movie- though this latter image is an image not of but in liquid crystals.
  • This is the potential of liquid crystal, glimpsed in a liquid crystal screen (pg 19).
  • Our recent histories have involved a mingling of the liquid and the crystal, or an oscillation between the two phases, or a melting and hardening of one into the other.
  • It can be said that liquid crystals are dialectical from of nature or in nature, possessing contradictory qualities at one and the same. What is liquid cannot be crystal, what is crystal cannot be liquid.
  • Water is a liquid crystal; we encounter it often in the form of fluid or ice.
  • The state of liquid crystallinity was discovered in the ninetieth century, though it has always existed.
  • It joins our world of concepts and initiates immense social change, as it eventually makes possible a world built up of screens, communicating devices, gauges, watches, calculators, controls panels and so on.
  • The polar pulls between liquid and crystalline states threaten to flatten out in the age of the flat screen.
  • The cage lined with spectacular screen threatens to seal up, as we are never disconnected.
  • We live within the flatness of our devices and image thereby that we live.
  • Linear polarized light vibrates in one plane only and this means that liquid crystals create prismatic dazzling patterns when viewed between crossed polarized filters.
  • Liquid crystal is a transition state.
  • The liquid crystal phase only exists for a few minutes on the transition from hot to cold or vice versa.
  • At the moment that liquid crystallinity occurs, colours and shapes flash into view, like an abstract film.
  • Crystals seduce: they are beautiful, glinting, attractive, and they are animated.
  • Wilson Bentley (1885): by his time photography had come to be better known as a mediator of more everyday visions.
    • It was increasingly associated with multiplication, reproduction and recording of the mundane.
    • Bentley’s practice holds onto the twin aspects of photography as magical and scientific, in the context of a normalization of photography.
    • His work represents an image of contradictory nature: photography, a mechanical form of image production, bore implications for the shaping of concepts within art understanding. 
    • Each print from the negative was only as ‘original’ as the next or one before it.
  • The smallest particle is amplified and makes a representation, a small image world in itself, particular, unique, complex and intimate.
  • MICROPHOTOGRAPHY– is a replication, repetitive technology that evinces heterogeneity and disparateness of nature displayed to the eye as curiosity.
  • Photography presents to consciousness ‘the images of the stock of nature disintegrated into its elements’.
  • They have lost their original order, their space and time.
  • The image becomes ‘provisional, but also loosens nature from inevitability and hints at possible other arrangements.
  • Under polarized light, liquid crystals resemble shattered rainbows, swirling seas of dye, dazzling jewels come to life.
  • These droplets appear as if alive, for they move, under their own power.
  • These substances, when cold (or starved of energy) are rigid and their particles are arranged in regular patterns.
  • In this state, forces hold the particles together, there is the smallest amount of movement: the substance is crystal.
  • A crystal consists of layers composed of particles, where each has allotted place and the molecules in neighbouring layers slot into each other’s gaps, forming a lattice.
  • If the same substance is heated, the crystal lattice melts, the neighbouring areas of mesh disperse.
  • The molecules scatter in different directions, though each remains on its layer.
  • The substances retain something of its crystalline structure, but at the same time the molecules slide around more or less fluidly.
  • In such a state, the substance possesses at the same time, the properties of being both liquid and crystal.
  • Towards the end of the 20th Century, liquid crystals, which had been discovered and presented through lenses of optical technologies: the microscope and the camera.
  • As their properties were harnessed for media, liquid crystals left the laboratory and became technical objects.
  • Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company (1936)
    • A layer of liquid crystal was proposed as a shutter or light valve in a film projector or television set.
  • James Fergason (1963)
    • ‘Thermal Imaging Devices Utilizing a Cholesteric Liquid Crystalline Phase Material’.
    • The cholesteric phase indicated groups of rod-like molecules in layers, with each thin layer twisted a few degrees in relation to the one below.
    • The proposed devices include a thermally sensitive material that was able to convert heat into visible pattern of various colours.
    • In its many applications, it was able to give a visual indication of the temperature of an object (high temperature utensils).
  • George Heilmeier (1964)
    • He combines liquid crystals with pleochoric dye.
    • Subjecting this compound, sandwiched between glass slides, effected colour changed under polarized light, as the dye molecules rotated.
    • Patterning conductive coatings on the glass and insulating some areas, he was able to produce images, although these were immobile- but these hosts and dyes were unstable.
  • Life Magazine (1968)
    • Showcased how liquid crystals might screen the body.
    • Photographs of a woman’s bare flesh coated with liquid crystal paint showed swirls of dramatic blue, green, brown, red and black, the colours indicative of the body heat that correlated with changes in blood flow.
  • Hans Kelker and Bruno Scheurle (1969)
    • Isolated the compound MMBA (Mrthoxybenzylindene and Butylaniline) which had a low solidification point, making it possible to use liquid crystal in devices that needed to work at room temp.
  • Liquid Crystals invaded human life, watches clasped onto wrists, liquid crystals harnesses to tasks of measurements and calculation.
  • Liquid crystals turned in this period, following WW2 from being visioned, through the microscope, to becoming part of the visual field.
  • Liquid crystals pointed to a future.
  • Televisions became the most visible part of liquid crystal technology, taking the initials of the name into their name: LCD TV.
    • One five-thousandth of a millimeter of liquid crystal is placed between glass plates, coated with an indium tin oxide conductive layer.
  • On its flatness, though the power of electricity, liquid crystal began dance and so produce ever more animate and colorful forms.
  • Sandwiched in cells between crosses polarizing film on glass and backed by a mirror and a form of lamination, the liquid crystals align themselves with electric fields, twisting and untwisting this was and that, in response to voltage stimulus and withdrawal.
  • The liquid crystal is harnessed within the screen: is vivid and shifting colours and animated swirls that display on the screen.
  • The liquid crystal display does not only display liquid crystals behavior, the pre-digital technology of film displayed liquid crystals going about their free liquid crystal behaviors.
  • Jean Painlevé (1978)
    • A six-minute film of liquid crystals continually shifting, agitating, changing colour from black to vibrant greens and reds and pinks.
    • Animated forms, they figure, refigure and sparkle with changing colours.
  • Liquid Crystals seem alive, they screen life. Life is screened on them, they come to life as they project scenes of life.
  • They are themselves a form of animation; their molecules assume the ability to transform themselves into a state that was considered impossible, just pure animation.
  • Animation, in its various formats as stop-motion and CGI has been about stopping and starting, about stillness impelled to life.
  • Animation is and always has been the mixture of the petrified, the still, coaxed into restless, movement.
  • Life comes about technically- as a product of electricity.
  • All animation is just a shudder, a jerking generated, by the imputing of electricity.
  • Screens themselves collaborate in this animating, through liquidity and crystallization.
  • Where the liquid and the crystal were the thematic matter of the artistic and painterly sublime in Romanticism- now liquid crystals have become the technical matter of a new faux-sublime, a commodity sublime, conveyed by a digital machine.
  • The luminance of the screen bathes us, we are in liquid worlds.
  • Much contemporary viewing produce their images through electrical charges that switch pixels, dots of liquid crystal, on and off.
  • Tiny pixels shift between on and off states.
  • In the LCD screen, it is the time it takes to make a transition from darkness to brightness to darkness in the image.
  • This speed is not perceivable by the human eye until the mechanism begins to fail.
  • The photograph is a moment snatched out of time, film is the stringing together of stilled moments of flowing time, then LCD screens today embed time and refute time.
  • It can be frozen at any moment and held still like a photograph, it can flow leaving no traces.
  • Liquid crystal displays compel into action the binary painting of fluidity and solidification, liquid and crystal.
  • The screens or their liquid crystal elements, participate in animation.
  • The divide between humans and nature is reinforced thematically and made possible through an unconscious technics- visages in the dramatic and hyperreal rendering of a cruel nature crushing human endeavor, such that it may not recover from the inconvenient truth.
  • Liquid crystal became the matter of the screen, its modulator, and as liquid crystal scenarios, it is the matter on the screen.
  • This sublime digital models, texture –maps, composites and renders a heightened recognizable world.
  • A moment is arrested as multiple stills, cameras encircling an object simultaneously click through 360 degrees.
  • Transferred to a computer, these images are stringed sequentially, rendering a still object animated or stretching out a single moment temporarily, packing more time into time itself as it turns spatial.
  • In watching frozen time, viewers appear to be moved around an object frozen in its instant.
  • The frozen and the fluid are brought into sudden proximity, such prolongations of time find perfect mechanism in the sharply crystalline yet fluid responsiveness of the LCD screen.
  • Frozen time technologies stretch out a single moment in order to gain further knowledge of it or something represented, through an enforced period of reflection.
  • It induces, in its synthetic confection and experience of wonder, the sensation of a digital sublimity, a sublime transcendence, as the audience is lifted from the moment or allocated an impossible temporality.
  • In this instance, the fluid is frozen by the machinery, as time is stretched, but some type of fluidity is transferred to the viewer in the form of the experience of flight, a lifting up and spinning around, to see things from the perspective of the sublime.
  • The freezing of movement and time finds it polar opposite in another prevalent computerized image practice.
    • A technical way in which animation finds a place nowadays in image manipulation software: as for example, iMovie, Photoshop etc.
  • That animating techniques are developed to counter to numb stillness of the archive suggests that we are not supposed to face the past in all its frozen closedness.
  • This process is on par with the colorization of black and white movies or desperate search for colour film in the historical archive as this were more real, more realistic, than black and white footage.
  • The screen has the capacity to bridge worlds- not least the everyday world, the domestic space of ordinary life and leisure and the art world, the gallery space of fine art.
  • These two are united in screen who’s very being is enmeshed with mobility, the agility of the images that dance across it in crystalline clarity, but also the mobility of the screen, a screen that can travel the globe.
  • The power of digital manipulation can erase the differences between distant times, spaces and traditions.
  • An image on a screen is constructed out of fragments and does not quite match up to a living, breathing whole.
    • It inheres something odd in the virtual reality, something hyper-real.
  • Film’s original configuration is stillness-whirred into movement by the energy of the projector.
  • The details caught in photographs by the camera’s optical unconscious are made available to vision through the coincidence of chance- that they were there and needed not be seen by the human eye.
  • Animation is introduced where stillness was, and stillness where the animated traces of life once were.
  • Film is broken down into frames for computer processing, its movements are arrested in order that semblance of life be impelled on the past.
  • To animate photography with the illusion of movement is not to analyze but to produce a pseudo-experience- as if giving you more knowledge.
  • To imitate nature means further to produce the illusion of presence, of something that exceeds the flatness of the screen, does not reach back into the depths of the image’s perspective.
  • There is a drive from imitation, and painting is not immune to this drive, but the qualities that ever more convincingly make an illusion of the real seem to be properties of the non-painted.
  • Even colour is presented in the moving technical arts, for by far the majority of early films were highly colored, by tinting and toning and experimental procedures.
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal
Esther Leslie: Liquid Crystal

Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal Under a Microscope

Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Benjamin Outram: Liquid Crystal
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagery)
Heated Liquid Crystal (My Own Imagary)
Liquid Crystal Filming Process (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal Filming Process (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal Filming Process (My Own Imagery)
Liquid Crystal Filming Process(My Own Imagery)

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