sts ink repeat


Scratch the Surface InkTM was featured in an interactive black light activated graffiti board display as part of the Chromogenic Materials Agents of Architecture Exhibit in the UVA Architecture School April 26-May 2, 2010. BF2AVB ink was provided, along with cotton swabs, rubber septa, burin, and other tools to draw and scratch on different material substrates, including chipboard, black and white foam core, Vyco (vinyl), weighing paper, laser etched plexiglas, and Yupo (polypropylene). This project emerged from engaging discussions and collaborative explorations conducted by Rosana Rubio-Hernandez and Cassandra Fraser. Shehzeen Cassum, Yamen Hama, Lin Jia and others played key roles in helping to design and curate the exhibit and with videography too. Lisa Russ Spaar contributed poetic reflections. Selected images, and links to text, video and additional information may be found below.



Preliminary Experiments



Campbell Hall Exhibit

campbell hall


Black Light Box

black box vial





Yupo & Vyco

yupo & vyco


Rough Sketches

rough sketches







Additional documentation of the exhibit may be found on Rosana Rubio-Hernandez' blog, Through Glass Paradoxes.



An image and composition from the exhibit was featured on the cover of a special mechanoresponsive material issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

JMC Cover

An Optics and Photonics News article "Exploring Mechanochromatic Dyes" about these mechanochromic luminescent materials also featured an image and composition from the exhibit.




  • Rosana Rubio-Hernandez, Lecturer, Curator
  • Lin Jia, Graduate Student, Adjunct Curator, Videographer
  • Dick Smith, Installation Maintenance
  • Shehzeen Cassum, Undergraduate, Design
  • Yamen Hama, Undergraduate, Design

Arts & Sciences 

  • Cassandra Fraser, Professor, UVA Chemistry, Materials, Concepts, Text
  • Guoqing Zhang, Graduate Student, UVA Chemistry, Materials, Concepts
  • Lisa Russ Spaar, Professor, UVA English and Creative Writing, Poetic Reflections



We thank the Architecture School, the Page Barbour Program in the College of Arts and Sciences (Plastic Project), and the National Science Foundation for support for our experiments and exhibit.