Black is the New Black - Perspectives No. 441
In 2016, Artist-in-Residence at M.I.T., Diemut Strebe, proposed an idea to MIT engineers to create a black coating from carbon nanotubes which could make the most brilliant material on earth disappear. Both are made of the same element, but with different atomic arrangements. She views the project as a modern take on Heraclitus' "unity of opposites". Three years later, in 2019, they created an even blacker black than Stuart Semple's black. Known as the blackest material on earth, it is reportedly 10 times darker than any material created before, including Vantablack. The new material, also made of vertically aligned nano tubes, absorbs 99.995% of light.
"The artwork triggered the science", stated Ms. Strebe. She then proceeded to try to find someone willing to allow her to coat a large diamond in the material, effectively making it disappear. Many of the largest diamond retailers refused until she found one, L.J. West Diamonds, who was willing to allow her to make their 16.78-carat, two-million-dollar natural yellow diamond disappear. She titled the work, "The Redemption of Vanity", because she believes that it challenges the nature of value attachment. As a coup-de-grace, as it were, to such vanity, she arranged to have her project displayed at the New York Stock Exchange. "The stock exchange, as the holy grail of value determination, is almost like a sounding board to the artwork", said Ms. Strebe.
Here is a link to a video of the disappearing yellow diamond.
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