LACMA's hands-on installations underscore the idea that the nanoworld also must be accessed by means other than sight -- a fairly radical notion for an art museum to promote. "The idea of feeling before you're seeing is such a huge paradigm shift in our visual culture, where we judge everything and everybody by what we see," Vesna says.
Ultimately, Hayles says, by creating a new language and fresh metaphors, nanoscience will stretch our perceptions of meaning and reality, just as art and science have always done. It was, she points out, the English Romantic poet and artist William Blake who famously challenged Newton's mechanistic view of the universe, who mused about seeing "eternity in a grain of sand / And a heaven in a wildflower" -- an eloquent, pre-nano paean to the god of small things.
Where: Boone Children's Gallery, LACMA West, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
When: Noon-5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays; noon-8 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays; closed Wednesdays
Ends: Sept. 6
Price: Admission to the exhibition is free
Contact: (323) 857-6000 or www.lacma.org