Growing layers

Place the wafer on the plate. Prepare substrate for deposition of first film. It must be ulta-thin, less than a nano-meter. Proceed in layer-by-layer fashion.

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A few hot weeks in the summer of 2013. Vacuum pumps puffed at a nearly deserted plasma materials processing facility, along with buzzing physicist students and an ethnographer post-doc – an inexperienced participant. The laboratory floor plans sketched, worker routines carefully tabulated, curious expressions hastily scribbled. Field conditions duly noted, experimental results listed. But only the faintest impressum of plasma science’s sensory spectacles on the researchers’ bodies. After all, ethnographers and physicists trust their paper most.


jb_soundings dinner_growing layers_image 21Follow the recipe: Heat, pressure, repeat, dose, purge, pump, repeat.

Listening to field recordings yields sonic memories to the laboratory, but it also stirred deeper bodily strata, not recorded on paper. How to grow atomic layers? With patience. Learn to follow the recipe: nothing more. But beware: nothing less! Get involved, re-align paper with bodies – timing, attention, and patience. Growing the ultrathin layers of an advanced arlette in my own kitchen, I tried to become a participant post-hoc – depositing new ethnographic memories onto my fieldnote substrates.

Learn to follow the recipe – Heston knows best. Preheat. Roll out puff pastry as thin as possible – layer icing sugar. Pressure. Bake until done. Gel apple liquid and pectin. Preheat. Layer apples. Pressure. Bake for 12 hours. Purge. Cool – completely. Dose syrup to 69’ Brix for refraction. Avoid crystalline. Pump. Mix vanilla with salt, fennel with sugar. Wait. Mix sugar, rosewater and crème fraiche to peaks. Pump. Dose. Purge. Cool.

Place the wafer arlette on the plate. Prepare substrate for deposition of first film. It must be ulta-thin. Add apple gel. Pipe geometric rows of rosewater atoms. Purge. Proceed in layer-by-layer fashion. Dust remainder on top.

Take note.