AFM – Asemic Force Micro/Macroscopy

AFM (Asemic Force Micro/Macroscopy) is some sort of word play with Atomic Force Microscopy. This latter is indeed a scanning technique, whose imaging capability is connected to the tiniest stress of a spring-like cantiliver, equipped with a sharp tip, flying over the sample surface and getting countinuosly deflected by it. The point by point intensities of the atomic interactions established, proportional to the tip’s displacements, are in real-time mapped to form the topographical profile of the sample. To depict it in a more captivating, though less proper way, it’s like an atomic driven turntable, sensing and recording microscopic interactions beyond the optical diffraction limit.
This project doesn’t actually rely on any such microscope, but tries to use common optical scanning devices to establish and exploit new asemic interactions to create and edit textual artworks.
As in most experiments, the first step consists of the sample preparation, to make it responsive to subsequent analyses. In this case, I picked green leaves from the lemon tree in the garden, I typed and cross-typed the same sentence on them over and over again, and let them wither. Despite this was necessary for another conceptual installation I am working on aside from the AFM project, I draw inspiration from it. I started combining these marked living objects together with asemic papers to build three dimensional asemic still lifes. To keep track of these unstable compositions, I decided to rasterize them with the help of a portable pen scanner and a table scanner. In order to embed signs and writings from different layers and project them onto the foreground, I put additional light sources behind the leaves, to counterbalance their opacity and obtain a substantial luminous increase in relation to the surroundings. I then overlapped semitransparent written sheets to probe those attractive asemic bedrocks full of unknowns. This made it possible to merge separated levels into some sort of topographical image, in which new patterns are spontaneously reinvented, depending on the interaction between the scanning light, the optical properties of the surfaces and the different pigments used for writing. Even the background noise, conveniently edited, has offered a raw underlayer of digital artifacts, scratches or residual particles, against which the primary forms stand out saturated or silhouetted.
This approach, still demanding further exploration, insists on the interface between manipulating and digitalizing existent documents or textual objects. It allows light to be the integrated as dynamic, constructive element and engages the purely mechanical scanning straight into the creative process, in the same way as, within asemic practices, handwriting is charged with formal traits far beyond the likely meaning to be shaped.