Sensory overload on the Lizard Point Artist Residency hosted by Mayes Creative and Lumen London. Serpentine rocks, wide horizons, sparkling sea, dark starry skies swept by the dazzling beam of Lizard Lighthouse.

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We are here to research the communication heritage of this dramatic coastline once plagued by shipwrecks and pirates.

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Rachel Holder from the National Trust guided us along the cliff path and told stories of the treacherous seas and lives lost on the hidden rocks. We heard about the history of Lizard Lighthouse and other methods of communication across distances.

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We visited Marconi’s radio station hut which was full of wonderful scientific equipment like spark transmitters and Morse code machines. In the early 1890s, Marconi began working on the transmission of telegraph messages without connecting wires. An early experiment was a storm alarm made up of a battery, a coherer (an early form of radio detector consisting of a glass tube loosely filled with metal filings whose bulk electrical resistance decreased in the presence of radio waves), and an electric bell, which went off when it picked up the radio waves generated by lightning.

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The message ‘WE ARE ONE’ was filmed on 29th March {non} Brexit Day signing with entanglement semaphore flags across the ocean

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The plan is to make a film exploring communication across distances, relating it to entanglement theory where two paired electrons mirror each other. This will then be back projected onto a frosted Fresnel lens as used by lighthouses.

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Joanna Mayes gave us a warm welcome to Cornwall on arrival as we witnessed the molten sun colour the whole sky before dropping out of sight.

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Sitting in the receding warm glow of the sunset we listened to the electromagnetic musical collaboration between sound artist Justin Wiggan and some house plants.

1903 plant biometric sounds

The meteor viewing pod created by artists Andrew Bird and Christina Romero-Cross was installed in the YHA grounds where a series of Deep Time films commissioned by Mayes Creative were screened with the sequence to be controlled by a cosmic ray detector.

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Two Geiger counters with lead between them identify those particles coming from outer space.

1903 cosmic ray detector

Astroarchaeologist Carolyn Kennett led us along a section of the Southwest Coast Path from Ruan Minor to Cadgwith via Poltesco Old Serpentine Works.

1903 Kuggar bay

Carleon Cove is full of Kennack gneiss, giant pebbles of pale pink granite and dark grey basalt banded together during enormous geological upheavals as the Lizard was thrust northwards and the melted rocks were fused together.

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Constant swirling sea sculpting

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organic micro rock constellations

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The Sky Disc of Nebra is a Bronze-age astronomical disc possibly used to determine the seasons for sowing and harvesting in the Halle area of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the oldest depiction of the cosmos yet known from anywhere in the world. It was discovered in 1999 by metal detectorists working illegally who sold it onto the black market where  it was later recovered in a police sting operation. Analysis shows the gold and tin used in the disk were from the Carnon Valley in Cornwall. Evidence of ancient links between communities.

Digital StillCamera

Workshops during the residency included looking at found matter under the microscope

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A Chemigram workshop which involves painting various resist materials such as toothpaste, suncream and honey onto photographic paper before exposing to sunlight, fixing and developing.


Astrophotography; learning the camera settings to use to capture the extraordinarily starry night sky we were fortunate to experience. This shot was using bulb mode, focus infinity, 2.8 aperture, 3200 ISO, 30 sec exposure.

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We did have to try and escape the sweeping beam of the Lizard Lighthouse but for some shots the added exposure gave some interesting results.

1903 astrophotography

On the trip down to join the art and science Lizard Point artist residency we found ourselves serendipitously having a delicious afternoon tea at The Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (CAST)

The original Science and Art School was built in 1897 by Cornish philanthropist John Passmore Edwards at the request of local people.

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The disperse papers left over from making the entanglement semaphore flags have good wormhole portal potential

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Two great resources discovered:

Design Me print studio where I have tracked down a large format heat press available for open access.

Fat Llama a rental resource for practically anything and everything.

I rented an EF 100 f2.8 USM macro lens and set up a mini green screen in the studio. Apparently black tourmaline is good at cleansing negative energy so I sourced a pendant to use to create a hypnotic state of relaxation encouraging the release of negative energy to power the transformation wormhole. Have changed the chain to leather thong.

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Not sure what the backdrop will be yet. Also tested the movement of iron filings against the green screen.

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I made a frozen ice disk and tested back projecting particle trails onto it. This was tricky to film as rather slippy but I can see this could be a good effect showing the detail in the ice.

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Cosmic rays stain icey asteroids red.

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Tested filming the cloud chamber with the macro lens and although the depth of field maybe better because it’s such a small area in the viewfinder I didn’t capture many trails.

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I’m not sure the result was better.

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Got some good air turbulence though

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The plan here was to have dry ice vapour coming through the perforations

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I made a site visit in heavy rain to Salisbury Arts Centre

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I will be installing Pentacoronae hanging sculpture for the Insatiable Mind exhibition as part of Salisbury International Festival.

1809 Pentacoronae

It was great to meet everyone and hear about their ambitions for the space. Being an old Church the ceilings are very high. It’s going to be a challenge but they do have their own cherrypicker.

1903 Salisbury Arts Centre

In preparation for the launch of the high altitude balloon with a cloud chamber in the payload students from Imperial College Space Society experimented with the mini DIY Cloud Chamber kits I provided.

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They are testing outcomes to design a prototype chamber that can withstand low pressure at high altitude, also they must ensure the base plate is kept extremely cold to create the supersaturated environment but any batteries onboard are kept warm enough to function and that turbulence doesn’t cause a whirlpool effect in the cloud.

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It looks like we might be launching from an airfield near Oxford.

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The New Materialisms Reading Group I attend are currently reading Scale. Geoffrey West’s research centres on a quest to find unifying principles and patterns connecting everything, from cells and ecosystems to cities, social networks and businesses. Full of interesting facts about heartbeats and energy, lifespans and growth cycles.

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It has been alarming to read about the terrifying unpredictable phenomenon of exponential growth. At the beginning growth is slow, but this soon accelerates to such a rate that it becomes out of control, unstoppable and then collapses under its own weight.

I am also still trying to understand entropy as explained by Carlo Rovelli in The Order of Time. So, the universe began with low entropy and it has been increasing ever since, the past leaves traces in the present caused by the irreversible process of energy degrading into heat from which our brains create extensive maps of past events and this is what gives us the sensation of time passing.

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Out of Studio

A packed gallery for Ray Richardson‘s entertaining talk and screening of award winning Our Side of the Water at Thames-side Studios shows how much he is held in our mutual esteem.

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Fun night with Andy Holden at The Cinema Museum.

1903 Andy Holden Cinema Museum

Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape uses live green screen filming allowing the narrator to interact with clips from hundreds of cartoons. The film proposes the world is best understood as a cartoon through examining the formation of ‘laws’ within cartoons as a way of making sense of the world we inhabit, a space where anything could potentially happen.

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I joined some students from Imperial College Space Society and other High Altitude Balloon enthusiasts at Wormwood Scrubs for the launch of a couple of Pico balloons that they are testing tracking with the aim of making a complete circuit of Earth.

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Anxious moments as the balloon barely gains height but soon it has vanished from sight

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The next couple of hours are spent listening in for the tracker system transmissions which can drop in and out of range; travelling at something like 60metres/second both balloons made it to Belgium before the transmissions ceased.

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Work resulting from an unexpected encounter that demands attention in By The Way at Lewisham Art House had some ephemeral photopolymer etchings of found seashore plastic by Sam Hodge.

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I also liked this work by Mark Sowden who photographed found frames and then mounts the resulting image in the frame.

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Great show Undertow at Sluice HQ. When prevailing discourses tip towards hyperbole, generalisations or simplification, there is a need to swim against the current, to carve out a space that allows for ambiguity, correspondence and a quieter voice. In the employment of few words, a scale of action or use of minimal materials, understatement can be both a way of confronting moments of crisis, or of evading them.

Alex Simpson Scratching the surface    /    Lauren Ilsley Fluvial Additions

 

Time Tries All Things video installation at the Institute of Physics by Grace Weir explored time and our human relationship with it.

1903 Grace Weir Time Tries All Things

Two narrators consider time from different perspectives against the backdrop of a stone carver replicating a plaque, repeating time.

DAVID:
I think when people talk about time they often confuse two sorts of thing.
There is time itself and there is what’s called the arrow of time, which is
direction, and its perceived nature as a human being.

FAY:
Being or becoming is an ancient question.
Ever since we have records of people thinking about the world, in ancient
Greek philosophy for example, there have been people on both sides of
this debate.

The complete audio transcript is available here.

There is a very impressive diffusion Cloud Chamber in the foyer at The Institute of Physics. Lots of activity but it was hard to see the particle trails clearly through all the reflections. 1903 Diffusion cloud chamber

They also have a cosmic ray detector on the roof which has scintillator plates containing molecules of a substance which emit a tiny flash of light when they are hit by a high-energy particle.

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