Diemut Strebe / The Redemption of Vanity

The Redemption of Vanity

Art/Science Concept and Design: Diemut Strebe

Technology on Blackest Black: Brian Wardle
CNT Growth on Diamond: Brian Wardle, Luiz Acauan, Estelle Cohen

This 16.78 carat natural yellow diamond (Fancy Vivid Yellow SI1, Radiant shape, value
$ 2.000.000,- ) has been provided by L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. for The Redemption of Vanity project.

The Redemption of Vanity


“The Redemption of Vanity” presents a 16.78 carat naturaI yellow diamond (Fancy Vivid Yellow SI1, Radiant shape, value $ 2.000.000,-) the most brilliant material on earth covered with carbon nanotubes, the most light absorptive material (the blackest black on earth), which makes the diamond appear to disappear.

The literal devaluation of a 2 Million Dollar diamond can be seen as a challenge to the art market and a statement on the arts by means of an aesthetic asceticism.

The Redemption of Vanity is an Artwork on the Intersection of Art and Science Presented at The New York Stock Exchange on 13th September 2019.

The diamond
  • The Redemption of Vanity

    Left: 16.78 carat natural yellow diamond
    Right: The diamond covered with the blackest black on earth
    Exclusive Image Copyright: Diemut Strebe

  • The Redemption of Vanity

    Presentation at the opening on 13th September 2019 at The New York Stock Exchange.
    Exclusive Image Copyright: Diemut Strebe

  • The Redemption of Vanity

    Presentation at the opening on 13th September 2019 at The New York Stock Exchange.
    Exclusive Image Copyright: Diemut Strebe

  • The Redemption of Vanity

    Presentation at the opening on 13th September 2019 at The New York Stock Exchange. A security guard is part of the display.
    Exclusive Image Copyright: Diemut Strebe

  • The Redemption of Vanity

    Artist Diemut Strebe at the opening on 13th September 2019 at The New York Stock Exchange
    Exclusive Image Copyright: @Nyse and Diemut Strebe

Concept and Technical Drawing

A 16.78 carat natural yellow diamond (Fancy Vivid Yellow SI1, Radiant shape, value $2,000,000) is covered with the blackest black on earth, which makes the diamond appear to disappear.
Grown nanotubes, tiny hollow carbon cylinders, will shape a microscopic ‘forest’ on the shiny surface of the diamond. When a photon enters the spatial forest structure, which is mainly consisting of empty space, it is encaged and bounces around until it dissipates as heat. The carbon nanotubes (short CNT’s) absorb 99.965% of the light.
Any object covered with this material loses all its plasticity and appears entirely flat, abbreviated to a black silhouette, by erasing any shadow in outright contradiction to this we see that a diamond, while made of the very same element (carbon), enacts the most intense reflection of light on earth.
The different structural forms of the arrangement of the carbon atoms create opposing extremes in appearance on exposure to light. In formal respect the project represents the paradoxical combination of two opposites coinciding in the same object. The form that maximizes the return of light (diamond cut) is covered with a surface that maximizes its absorption. In effect the CNT’s material properties appear almost “immaterial”, as the void of a black hole.
The covered diamond is presented on a small elongated golden foot encased in a safety class chamber mounted onto a pedestal. In order to be able to “see” the deprivation as efficiently as possible, the display is equipped with illuminated magnifiers. Part of the display is an armed security guard.
The project explores how material and immaterial value is attached to objects and concepts in reference to luxury, society and to art.
The literal devaluation of an object of highly symbolic and economic value can be understood in respect to the embracing forces of art market mechanism on the one hand, while expressing at the same time questions of the value of art in its more broader sense.

We use a new developed method patented by MIT that is measurable the blackest black on earth, that can be used by any artist.
We do not believe in exclusive ownership of concepts, ideas or materials in the arts.

Author of the Concept: Diemut Strebe



Diemut Strebe, Display for Diamond

Frame with 2 magnifying glasses; Daylight Company, Omega 7 lens, 175mm; Skylight: Fotodiox Pro 18x18 inch dimmable color photo LED;

Frame: square tubes or bars 20 x 20mm; steel epoxy coating white, RAL 9010; Pedestal steel epoxy coating white, RAL 9010 Diamond display: glass dome, 250 x 350 x 5mm: Schott Duran, high transparent colorless glass; solid brass base, top gold plated: Diamond support cone, gold 18 carat; solid or 3D printed.

Carbon Nanotubes


The Blackest Black

Download

Inspired by the art project, Brian Wardle and his team developed a CNT growth method that is so far the measurable blackest black on earth.

Grown nanotubes are tiny hollow carbon cylinders that shape a microscopic ‘forest’. When a photon enters the spatial forest structure, which is mainly consisting of empty space, it is encaged and bounces around until it dissipates as heat.

CNT’s are extremely black, casting no shadows on the object, therefore plasticity and 3D appearance are abbreviated to flatness and the almost immaterial of the void. They absorb 99.965% of the light.



Diamond (sp3) and CNT’s (sp2) are made of the very same element (carbon). The different structural forms of the arrangement of the carbon atoms create opposing extremes in appearance on exposure to lights, while coinciding in the same object: the art piece.


Most single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) have a diameter of close to 1 nanometer. A human hair is approximately 80,000-100,000 nanometers wide

Artist



In Brian Wardle’s necstlab at MIT together with a researcher (front)


I am a German-born artist based in America, Boston and currently Artist in Residence at MIT. https://arts.mit.edu/artists/diemut-strebe/#about-the-residency

My works link art and science to address contemporary issues, often incorporating themes related to philosophy and literature. I explore the crossover between science and art through media such as living and biological materials, nanomaterials, experimental set ups, installations and video. This practice includes scientific concepts, methods and tools. The collaborations with scientists take place in the fields of human and plant genetics, quantum- and astrophysics, and various types of engineering.

The heterogeneous appearance of my works results from the variety of topics and strands in science I deal with. The conceptual approach of the works may be similar and comparable, but the complexity of subjects certainly leads to a diversity of artistic results.

Focused on the advanced science of our era, I feel attracted to affirm the Romantic paradigm of “the new” throughout the medium itself and its combination with the arts.

My work is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. More at my website:

Diemut Strebe.

Download CV

The Process at MIT

  • The $2M USD brilliant yellow diamond arrives at MIT from LJWest for CNT growth.

    The $2M USD brilliant yellow diamond arrives at MIT from LJWest for CNT growth.

  • Transfer of the stone to Brian Wardle and MIT Police

    Transfer of the stone to Brian Wardle and MIT Police

  • Acauan in the MTL EML cleanroom preparing the diamond for  processing.

    Acauan in the MTL EML cleanroom preparing the diamond for processing.

  • The diamond prior to e-beam processing of catalyst layers in the MTL EML electron beam (e-beam) chamber.

    The diamond prior to e-beam processing of catalyst layers in the MTL EML electron beam (e-beam) chamber.

  • Close up of previous image

    Close up of previous image

  • The diamond on a substrate for processing in MIT’s MTL EML lab.

    The diamond on a substrate for processing in MIT’s MTL EML lab.

  • Luiz Acauan and Estelle Kalfon-Cohen inspect the diamond during removal from a processing substrate in MIT necstlab, just prior to CNT growth.

    Luiz Acauan and Estelle Kalfon-Cohen inspect the diamond during removal from a processing substrate in MIT necstlab, just prior to CNT growth.

  • Cleaning of the diamond before CNT growth: The cleaning process for the CNT growth is substantial- The surfaces of the diamond must be perfectly cleaned before each process step to ensure the nano-scale structures are not affected by micro-scale dust particles.

    Cleaning of the diamond before CNT growth: The cleaning process for the CNT growth is substantial- The surfaces of the diamond must be perfectly cleaned before each process step to ensure the nano-scale structures are not affected by micro-scale dust particles.

  • Diamond in solvent for cleaning

    Diamond in solvent for cleaning

  • The diamond in the CNT growth chamber in necstlab. The rainbow reflection is from the surface of the shiny Silicon support piece.

    The diamond in the CNT growth chamber in necstlab. The rainbow reflection is from the surface of the shiny Silicon support piece.

  • Close up of previous image

    Close up of previous image

  • The  diamond after CNT growth in MIT’s necstlab. The diamond is attached to the golden foot of the display in this processing step.

    The diamond after CNT growth in MIT’s necstlab. The diamond is attached to the golden foot of the display in this processing step.

  •  The diamond is attached to the golden foot and the next step will be the removal (breaking) of a Silicon support piece (pictured below the black diamond).

    The diamond is attached to the golden foot and the next step will be the removal (breaking) of a Silicon support piece (pictured below the black diamond).

  • Close up of previous image

    Close up of previous image

  • The assembled display in the MIT’s necstlab lab
Diamond on the golden foot, attached to a golden plate and covered by the glass dome.

    The assembled display in the MIT’s necstlab lab Diamond on the golden foot, attached to a golden plate and covered by the glass dome.

  • View diamond covered with CNT’s attached to foot

    View diamond covered with CNT’s attached to foot

  • The team that grew the blackest black on earth on a 2 Million Dollar diamond at MIT

    The team that grew the blackest black on earth on a 2 Million Dollar diamond at MIT: Brian Wardle, Luiz Acauan, Estelle Cohen Prof. Wardle’s research group, necstlab, pursuits novel and strategic use of nanofibers for use in many applications, primarily aerospace structural applications. Photos: Diemut Strebe and Brian Wardle

MIT Art-Science Project Makes $2 Million Diamond “Disappear” at the NY Stock Exchange


The New Yorker

Artnet

Frieze

The RIBA Journal

Business Insider

CAST / MIT

Press Release download

Cambridge, MA and New York, NY, August 29, 2019 — The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will present The Redemption of Vanity, created by artist Diemut Strebe in collaboration with MIT scientist Brian Wardle and his lab, on view at the New York Stock Exchange September 13, 2019 - November 25, 2019. For the work, a 16.78 carat natural yellow diamond valued at $2 million from L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. was coated using a new procedure of generating carbon nanotubes (CNTs), recently measured to be the blackest black ever created, which makes the diamond seem to disappear into an invisible void.
The patented carbon nanotube technology (CNT) absorbs more than 99.96% of light and was developed by Professor Wardle and his necstlab lab at MIT.
“Any object covered with this CNT material loses all its plasticity and appears entirely flat, abbreviated/reduced to a black silhouette. In outright contradiction to this we see that a diamond, while made of the very same element (carbon) performs the most intense reflection of light on earth. Because of the extremely high light absorbtive qualities of the CNTs, any object, in this case a large diamond coated with CNT’s, becomes a kind of black hole absent of shadows,“ explains Strebe. “The unification of extreme opposites in one object and the particular aesthetic features of the CNTs caught my imagination for this art project.”
“Strebe’s art-science collaboration caused us to look at the optical properties of our new CNTgrowth, and we discovered that these particular CNTs are blacker than all other reported materials by an order of magnitude across the visible spectrum”, says Wardle. The MIT team is offering the process for any artist to use. “We do not believe in exclusive ownership of any material or idea for any artwork and have opened our method to any artist,” say Strebe and Wardle.
“The project explores material and immaterial value attached to objects and concepts in reference to luxury, society and to art. We are presenting the literal devaluation of a diamond, which is highly symbolic and of high economic value. It presents a challenge to art market mechanisms on the one hand, while expressing at the same time questions of the value of art in a broader way. In this sense it manifests an inquiry into the significance of the value of objects of art and the art market,” says Strebe. “We are honored to present this work at The New York Stock Exchange, which I believe to be a most fitting location to consider the ideas embedded in The Redemption of Vanity.” “The New York Stock Exchange, a center of financial and technological innovation for 227 years, is the perfect venue to display Diemut Strebe and Professor Brian Wardle’s collaboration.
Their work brings together cutting-edge nanotube technology and a natural diamond, which is a symbol of both value and longevity,” said John Tuttle, NYSE Group Vice Chairman & Chief Commercial Officer.
“We welcome all scientists and artists to venture into the world of natural color diamonds. The Redemption of Vanity exemplifies the bond between art, science, and luxury. The 16-carat vivid yellow diamond in the exhibit spent millions of years in complete darkness, deep below the earth's surface. It was only recently unearthed — a once-in-a-lifetime discovery of exquisite size and color. Now the diamond will relive its journey to darkness as it is covered in the blackest of materials. Once again, it will become a reminder that something rare and beautiful can exist even in darkness,” said Larry West.
The “disappearing” diamond in The Redemption of Vanity is a $2 Million Fancy Vivid Yellow SI1 (GIA), Radiant shape, from color diamond specialist, L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. of New York. The Redemption of Vanity, conceived by Diemut Strebe, has been realized with Brian L. Wardle, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Director of necstlab and Nano-Engineered Composite aerospace STructures (NECST) Consortium and his team Drs. Luiz Acauan and Estelle Cohen, in conjunction with Strebe’s residency at MIT supported by the Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST).

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Diemut Strebe is a conceptual artist based in Boston, MA and a MIT CAST Visiting Artist. She has collaborated with several MIT faculty, including Noam Chomsky and Robert Langer on Sugababe (2014), Litmus (2014) and Yeast Expression (2015); Seth Lloyd and Dirk Englund on Wigner’s Friends (2014); Alan Guth on Plötzlich! (2018); researchers in William Tisdale’s Lab on The Origin of the Works of Art (2018); Regina Barzilay and Elchanan Mossel on The Prayer (2019); and Ken Kamrin and John Brisson on The Gymnast (2019). Strebe is represented by the Ronald Feldman Gallery.
Brian L. Wardle is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and the director of the necstlab research group and MIT’s Nano-Engineered Composite aerospace STructures (NECST) Consortium. Wardle previously worked with CAST Visiting Artist Trevor Paglen on The Last Pictures project (2012).

ABOUT THE MIT CENTER FOR ART, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

A major cross-school initiative, the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) creates new opportunities for art, science and technology to thrive as interrelated, mutually informing modes of exploration, knowledge and discovery. CAST’s multidisciplinary platform presents performing and visual arts programs, supports research projects for artists working with science and engineering labs, and sponsors symposia, classes, workshops, design studios, lectures and publications. The Center is funded in part by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Evan Ziporyn is the Faculty Director and Leila W. Kinney is the Executive Director.
Since its inception in 2012, CAST has been the catalyst for more than 150 artist residencies and collaborative projects with MIT faculty and students, including numerous cross-disciplinary courses, workshops, concert series, multimedia projects, lectures and symposia. The visiting artists program is a cornerstone of CAST’s activities, which encourages cross-fertilization among disciplines and intensive interaction with MIT’s faculty and students. More info at https://arts.mit.edu/cast/ .

HISTORY OF VISITING ARTISTS AT MIT

Since the late 1960s, MIT has been a leader in integrating the arts and pioneering a model for collaboration among artists, scientists and engineers in a research setting. CAST’s Visiting Artists Program brings internationally acclaimed artists to engage with MIT’s creative community in ways that are mutually enlightening for the artists and for faculty, students and research staff at the Institute. Artists who have worked extensively at MIT include Mel Chin, Olafur Eliasson, Rick Lowe, Vik Muniz, Trevor Paglen, Tomás Saraceno, Maya Beiser, Agnieszka Kurant, and Anicka Yi.

ABOUT L.J. WEST DIAMONDS

L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. is a three generation natural color diamond wholesaler founded in the late 1970’s by Larry J. West and based in New York City. L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. has established itself as one of the world’s prominent houses for some of the most rare and important exotic natural fancy color diamonds to have ever been unearthed. This collection includes a vast color spectrum of rare pink, blue, yellow, green, orange and red diamonds. L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. is an expert in every phase of the jewelry process – from sourcing to the cutting, polishing and final design. Each exceptional jewel is carefully set to become a unique work of art.
The Redemption of Vanity is on view at the New York Stock Exchange by appointment only. Press viewing: September 13, 2019 at 3pm New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005 RSVP required. Please check-in at the blue tent at 2 Broad Street (at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets).
All guests are required to show a government issued photo ID and go through airport-like security upon entering the NYSE. NYSE follows a business casual dress code - jeans & sneakers are not permitted.

Media contacts:
Leah Talatinian, Arts at MIT
[email protected] | 617-253-5351
Gino DiGeso, L.J. West Diamonds, Inc.
[email protected] | 212-997-0940

Collaboration

The Redemption of Vanity is an art project conceived and designed by Diemut Strebe. The Blackest Black CNT Growth on the Diamond, Development with Patented Paper and Execution of CNT Growth on Diamond has been made by Brian Wardle, MIT . His team: Luiz Acauan, Estelle Cohen.

The diamond covered with the blackest black for The Redemption of Vanity has been provided by L.J. West Diamonds, Inc.: Larry West, Scott West. L.J. West Diamonds, Inc. also sponsored part of the display.

Design and Organization: Diemut Strebe with Stefan Strauss

Project Management from 2014-2019: Diemut Strebe together with Robert Langer

The project is made possible by the support of MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) within the setting of Diemut Strebe’s Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residency at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology from 2017-2019

Host of the art project for the show: The New York Stock Exchange



My mentor, colleague and friend Robert Langer has been of extraordinary support for the entire project span from 2014-2019 and has made major managerial and other contributions for the project. Further I thank Antonio Severino for the excellent fabrication of the foot for the diamond. For his continuing support in 3D digital creations I thank Joshua Qualtieri and Shawn Allan (Lithoz) on 3D printing contributions. Thanks very much to the extraordinary support from Paola and Paolo Marcucci. For additional important contributions around the project I thank Alan Guth, Maria Montez, Charles Vacanti and Werner Runge. The realization of The Redemption of Vanity from Brian Wardle and his team on the MIT campus had contributions from around the Institute, including Prof. Jesus del Alamo and Dr. Vicky Diadiuk (Microsystems Technology Laboratory), Ashley Kaiser (MIT necstlab), EVP Israel Ruiz, Sandra Mitchell, and Regina Dugan (MIT Administration), John DiFava, Captin Craig Martin and several MIT police patrols (MIT Police), Prof. A. John Hart (MechE, mechanosynthesis group), and Anthony Zolnik (AeroAstro). Alexandra H. Wardle, Gerry McGuire (Scio Diamonds).The Website is a donation from Paolo Andriolo in support of the art project. Realization of the website: Roberto Capanna and Alessandro Berlato.