2013, August.

The Materiality of Fracture In Digital Display


In geological intimacy this act of destruction puts the stratified composition of the screen on display. The crust of the image in a thin plastic film. More resilient than you might expect, the cover requires considerable force to rupture. The polarizing film filters out all light except light traveling at a particular angle. Under the film is a glass substrate, etched with microscopic grooves that match the lines of the polarized filter. Held in place by the fine etching, liquid crystal. Angular, geometric with the tendency of to align in a structural fashion, liquid crystal, uncharged, degrades in formal regularity. Like any clear crystal, the nematic liquid crystal transmits light. But when an electric current organizes the fragments of the crystal into a straight line, the geometric helical structure of the liquid crystal lost. Transparent electrodes at either end of the crystalline spiral embrace the nematic liquid. Charged, the electrodes deform the nematic liquid’s helical structure, barring the crystal from twisting the crests of entering light by 90 degrees. As with window blinds, the twisting crystal allows for gradations of light to pass. Thus the duality of the liquid crystal allows for the continuous transformation of light from its brightest to its absence.The strata of the digital image is mirrored with a second glass filter and a polarizing film, followed by a thick glass plate, resting on top of a mirror.


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