(M)other tongue: the optic and haptic scale for restAURAtion worksmade of silica aerogel


Silica aerogel is an attractive material for art as well as science and engineering. The characteristic transparency and low refractive index have made silica aerogel a novel material for visual arts under the name of aer()sculptures. Starting from one sculptural work by the first author, the artwork (M)other, is a novel concept proposing the use of silica aerogel in the “restAURAtion” of cultural heritage to replace classical plaster of Paris techniques. Restoring missing parts of a monument with a translucent material renders a new aesthetic quality. Light scattering disambiguates the missing arms of a Parthenon Caryatid, for example, an ethereal image adding to its historic value, which cannot be achieved by the plaster of Paris restoration technique.