The Nanomandala is an installation by media artist Victoria Vesna, in collaboration with nanoscience pioneer James Gimzewski.
The installation consists of a video projected onto a disk of sand, 8 feet in diameter. Visitors can touch the sand as images are projected in evolving scale from the molecular structure of a single grain of sand – achieved my means of a scanning electron microscope (SEM)- to the recognizable image of the complete mandala, and then back again.
This coming together of art, science and technology is a modern interpretation of an ancient tradition that consecrates the planet and its inhabitants to bring about purification and healing. The sand mandala of Chakrasamvara seen in this installation was created by Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Gaden Lhopa Khangtsen Monastery in India, in conjunction with the “Circle of Bliss” exhibition on Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This particular sand mandala had never before been made in the United States.
To complement the video, sound artist Anne Niemetz has developed a meditative soundscape derived from sounds recorded during the creative process of making the sand mandala.
Of the installation the artist says: Inspired by watching the nanoscientist at work, purposefully arranging atoms just as the monk laboriously creates sand images grain by grain, this work brings together the Eastern and Western minds through their shared process centered on patience. Both cultures use these bottom-up building practices to create a complex picture of the world from extremely different perspectives.
With generous support from the David W. Bermant Foundation.
The Nanomandala was premiered at the exhibition NANO at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.