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e6.1 - *particle group* Installation
*particle group* Installation
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Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market


One layer of the *particle group* project is the *Particles of Interest* interactive installation of poetic meditations from around the world that allows visitors to encounter the global chorus on nanotechnology, culture, and property. The installation creates a *sonic-simulation* of particle data scanning gestures.

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of materials and the creation of structures and systems that exist at the scale of atoms and molecules. A nanometer (nm) is one billionth of a meter. By way of comparison, a DNA molecule is roughly 2.5 nm, a red blood cell 7,000 nm, and a human hair cell is 80,000 nm wide. The existing body of toxicological literature indicates that nanoparticles have a greater risk of toxicity than larger particles.

The *particle sniffer* prototype by *particle group* is a sniff-scan technology that captures nano-scale elements, such as nanoparticles of carbon 60, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide that have clustered on or beneath the skin of individuals who have unknowingly been using nano-based particle products ranging from transparent suntan lotions, a large number skin care products, and a wide variety of makeup products to some types of fabrics. The *particle sniffer* sonic-simulation installation is based on a nano-sized surface acoustic wave chip, which works by measuring disturbances in sound waves as they pass across micro-quartz crystals. This "dog on a chip" sensor is coated with a thin layer of cloned antibody proteins that bond to specific particles, such as carbon 60. The sound waves passing through that sensor can then be compared with an uncoated control crystal: differences in the waves mean the chip has picked up trace amounts of the target particles. Each time an individual passes through the installation and a particle is captured, the installation alerts the individual to the level of trans-patented particle traces that have been found on him or her, and to the toxicity tales of others that have had nano-clusters found on them or in them.