Lab Notebook 2008-2015. Photogenic drawing on paper, 2015.
When I joined the Alivisatos Lab—a nanoscience lab at UC Berkeley—as its artist-in-residence, I was given a lab notebook in which to record my experiments. I’m in the process of documenting this notebook (and the one that followed it) in a series of photogenic drawings using a proto-photographic process Henry Fox Talbot developed in the 19th century. The chemistry involved in making these photogenic drawings is strikingly similar to the chemistries I use in the experiments chronicled in the notebooks. In order to properly document each page, I detach it from the book’s spine. Defoliated, my book is no longer a book. The object I am documenting no longer exists. The practice of destroying something in order to image or measure it is one I learned in the lab.