Archives for posts with tag: Cloud Chamber

Hito Steryl’s essay In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective talks of groundlessness, the loss of a stable horizon  as we enter an age of remote viewing and constructed visualisations that can invoke disorientation and require acclimatisation to new perspectives. Gravity is explained by Einstein as the curvature of space time; we are constantly falling through space. A black hole occurs when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses in upon itself, compacting its mass to be so dense it causes a deep pocket in space time so that anything falling into that hole beyond the event horizon has no chance of escape.

It may sound a little dramatic but when an event you have been focused on for so long is no longer on the horizon but you have passed into its gravitational field and are sucked into its vortex it can feel like free fall, you pass through so quickly and just keep falling.

At least we took some photographs on the way through. For many of these we are extremely grateful to Sara Lynd for capturing Laboratory of Dark Matters so expertly and considerately.

In the short space of time at Guest Projects between the Lab. Talks+ and the exhibition opening I worked on some images I had taken when running the cloud chamber.

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The original intention had been to print images of cosmic particles from the cloud chamber onto acetate and fix them behind the etched aluminium plates on the dodecahedron frame, there would be a band of light inside that would rotate, scanning the universe.

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In practise the cosmic particle images were lost behind the etched plates along with the open structure of the frame and the rotating light proved temperamental.

There was also a large expanse of wall available.

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Susan Eyre The Forms photo Sara Lynd

The result was I have two works.

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Susan Eyre Diazôgraphô photo Sara Lynd

The immutable truths Plato discovered in geometry belong to the realm of abstract thought he called The Forms. This is where ideals reside, outside the limitations of the physical world and where, if anywhere, paradise might be found.

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In visualisations of dark matter created from scientific data we see familiar organic patterns emerge; the fronds of dark matter spanning galaxies could be the spreading branches of trees or the veins under our skin.

 

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Susan Eyre The Forms (detail) photo Sara Lynd

 

These projected shadows of The Forms that govern the structures of our universe invoke a primordial response. Plato suggested we harbour memories of universal truths in our souls.

 

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Susan Eyre Diazôgraphô photo Sara Lynd

 

The exhibition suddenly came together.

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We were honoured by a visit from our lovely and generous host Yinka Shonibare.

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and really appreciated his interest and chatting about our individual responses to dark matter research

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Amy Gear Nudge photo Sara Lynd

Amy Gear’s digital video work projected onto suspended body parts was edited from footage of the Women’s Self Defence and Green Screen Workshop that explored the visibility of women in the universe and the anticipation of the nucleus of a Xenon atom being nudged by a dark matter particle.

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Amy Gear Nudge photo Sara Lynd

We enjoyed the way the works overlapped with each other.

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Daniel Clark Veil photo Sara Lynd

Programming a vinyl cutting machine to draw with a marker pen instead of to cut, Daniel Clark created Veil, a reimagining of the single line engraving of the Face of Christ, known as the Sudarium of Saint Veronica, by Claude Mellan from 1649.

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Daniel Clark Veil photo Sara Lynd

Daniel also installed Edge-work, a series of radio receivers delineating the space with sound waves being received or distorted by the interference of the human form.

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Daniel Clark Edge-work photo Sara Lynd

Every so often the words of U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld echoed through the space… ‘ there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.’

In keeping with pinning down the unknowns is Peter Glasgow’s work.

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Peter Glasgow The Indicators of Illusive Ideas photo Sara Lynd

Hints lie in the MDF stand and printed text, a DVD booklet from Game of Thrones. These are really props for a live performance when the text is richly spoken and like the text itself they make no claims to legitimacy.

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Luci Eldridge Untitled (Dark Matter, Reconstructed) photo Sara Lynd

Luci Eldridge’s 3D print with silver leaf, reflected on privacy screen, and scanned Germanium fragments isolated in the blackness of space take on metaphors of time-warp spaceships and thundering meteors.

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Luci Eldridge Germanium Fragments photo Sara Lynd

Sarah Gillett uses methodology borrowed from Private Investigators creating a detectives evidence board to map the history of a gold ring that began in supernova explosions billions of years ago, arriving on the earth through an asteroid bombardment and now sits on her mothers finger.

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Sarah Gillett The Case of the Gold Ring  photo Sara Lynd

The journey of the ring from raw element to love token brings the incomprehensible and the everyday together in a story we can relate to.

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It gives us pause to wonder at the origins of matter that surrounds us.

Kate Fahey takes us further into the subconscious

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Kate Fahey Dark Adaptation (video still) photo Sara Lynd

How long does it take our eyes to adapt to darkness? What other ways of seeing exist?

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Kate Fahey Optimistic photo Sara Lynd

What senses should we rely on? What role does intuition play?

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Kate Fahey Divination Sticks photo Sara Lynd

Her video installation, live performance and emblematic sculptures draw on old forms of knowledge and refer back to the lectures of Rudolf Steiner to open a dialogue between ancient and modern technologies.

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Kate Fahey Feelers photo Sara Lynd

There is a hypnotic allure created in the dark space where Melanie King’s Cosmic Ray Oscillograph operates. A laser light is sporadically jolted by a solenoid translating data from the LUX project to traverse a rotating disc coated in phosphorescent powder.

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Melanie King Cosmic Ray Oscillograph photo Sara Lynd

While we cannot see dark matter directly, only infer it indirectly from the spin of the galaxies and gravitational lensing we sense something is present and speculate its structure and role in the universe. Elizabeth Murton tests these theories, creating hand spun porcelain galaxies vulnerable to breaking apart, strung across the universe palpably supported by the threads of dark matter.

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Elizabeth Murton Connective Matter photo Sara Lynd

End of residency Going Dark gathering begins

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Late viewing opened with a performance curated by Kate Fahey. Tim Zercie, as spiritual scientist urges us to awaken, to open our eyes and our minds, to engage our senses and be transported aided by the mesmeric playing of uileann piper John Devine.

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Peter Glasgow’s spoken contemplation on the commentaries that run alongside a process; the vagaries of trying to get close to something but failing.

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Captivating storytelling in The Case of the Gold Ring from Sarah Gillett

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Light dimming

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Within that ordinary space were hidden the building blocks of the universe.

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Dark matter allows structures in the universe to form by pulling matter into its gravitational field.

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We decide to build a wall.

Add some signage designed by Daniel Clark and we are ready for our first Open Lab. at Guest Projects.

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The idea is that we work in the space and are open for visitors to drop in and see what we are up to and chat about the work and the ideas around dark matter research that we are investigating.

We set up a reading table and information hub with artist profiles, research material and info on Boulby Underground Laboratory   which we visited last spring to discover for ourselves this hidden world where dark matter research and experiments take place.

During the first two weeks at Guest Projects we ran workshops and tested ideas in the space.

Chroma-key body suits needed a test run from Amy Gear.

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Elizabeth Murton was considering dark matter as a connective material in the universe, setting up a tension of competing forces that may be as powerful as those of fission and fusion.

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I ran Cloud Chamber workshops.

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Thankfully everyone was able to ‘capture’ their own particle trails in the mini cloud chambers they made and were duly captivated by the tiny missiles they observed.

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The cloud chamber gives us a glimpse into the invisible world of particles produced in the radioactive decay of naturally occurring elements and those generated when cosmic rays strike the top of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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It is a sealed environment containing a supersaturated vapour of pure alcohol, warmed at the top and super cooled at the bottom with dry ice.

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Charged particles passing through the chamber cause the alcohol molecules to gain an electric polarisation and condense into liquid droplets which look like tiny airplane trails.

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To see the trails the particles leave as they tear through the cloud it must be very dark with a bright light shining across the floor of the chamber.

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The activity takes place very near to the base of the chamber just a centimetre or two deep.

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There is so much activity going on and these particles are whizzing through us all the time.

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It seems we shouldn’t actually see some of these visitors at all but due to the weird way special relativity works we do. Muons are typically produced around 15 km up in the atmosphere, a distance which takes around 50 microseconds to cross at the speed of light— this is over 20 muon lifetimes and so they shouldn’t be able to make it to the earth’s surface before they decay.

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However, since they are travelling quite near the speed of light, time in their frame of reference is significantly dilated as seen by an observer on Earth, meaning that a significant fraction can, in fact, make it to the surface. I have to be honest I can’t get my head round this but I love the idea of a particle having its own time frame of reference.

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As well as Muons we see particles from background radiation. Radioactivity is a random naturally occurring process.  Alpha particles are released by high mass, proton rich unstable nuclei. The alpha particle is a helium nucleus; it consists of two protons and two neutrons. It contains no electrons to balance the two positively charged protons. Alpha particles are positively charged particles moving at high speeds. Beta particles are emitted by neutron rich unstable nuclei. Beta particles are high energy electrons. These electrons are not electrons from the electron shells around the nucleus, but are generated when a neutron in the nucleus splits to form a proton and an accompanying electron. Beta particles are negatively charged. For the particle to cause a trail it must have a charge which will ionize the vapour as they pass through, we don’t see neutrinos as they do not have a charge.

1704 Cosmic Trail 2Once you have the right set up it’s surprisingly easy to witness this turbulent landscape with it’s own little microclimate.

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Melanie King ran a day of hypnotic workshops painting with phosphorescent powder and using lasers to activate the phosphorescence which absorbs light then slowly releases it, allowing patterns to build up, layer and fade away.

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The very knowledgeable Jennifer Crouch founder of Making in Transit and member of Art/Physics collective Jiggling Atoms ran a Super Symmetry workshop for us transforming the space with shimmering two way reflective veils

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explaining the different types of particle and how easy or not it is to detect them, the contested theories of supersymmetry and the use of a black mirror (Claude glass) for observing nature

new particles were ‘created’, observed and drawn

Amy Gear invited anyone who identified as female to join a green screen/self defence workshop under the guidance of martial arts expert Jiff Higman to explore the visibility of women in the universe. The points of body contact echoing the anticipated nudge of the target xenon nucleus when a dark matter particle hits it and causes a scintillation of energy that the scientists can record. In the final video work only 5% of the bodies will be visible.

There was a spellbinding Hour Of Listening curated by Jennifer Boyd and Amy Pettifer. As the light faded we listened to Dark Matter Gushes From The Mouth Into The Open Air – ‘Latent gurgles, murmurs rising… a tone begins in the depths of the belly and strives in the throat before escaping – a burst of vocal dark matter. ‘

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Jocelyn Monroe, Professor of Physics at the Royal Holloway University of London kindly shared some links to her research areas.

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She works in an underground laboratory SNOLAB where the DEAP dark matter search experiment takes place in Canada. She also works with the The Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber project and has written an article for symmetry magazine about the search for the dark matter wind which could give an idea of the direction dark matter comes from.

Lecturer in accelerator physics at Lancaster University and a member of the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology, Ian Bailey shared his fascinating research searching for new particles and forces at both high energies and low energies.

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He works with microwave cavities that are in some ways similar to household microwave ovens to look for the effects of hypothetical particles such as axions or hidden-sector photons. These particles are sometimes generically called weakly-interacting slim particles (WISPs). Just like their heavy cousins, the WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles), WISPs may also be a major constituent of dark matter.

1704 Ian Bailey Cascade cooling

If they exist, hidden-sector photons (dark photons) would allow normal light to penetrate through walls in a way that it cannot normally do. The experiments that look for this effect are called light-shining-through-a-wall experiments and one such experiment has taken place at the Cockcroft Institute recently. It may be possible that dark matter could have subtle effects on the motion of light.

So from looking into this a bit it seems regular photons are changed to dark photons (axions)  by applying an intense magnetic field or maybe some other force – a barrier is set up that regular photons cannot pass through but dark photons can – the dark photons pass through the barrier and then turn back into visible photons which can be detected.

He is also involved in the design of the International Linear Collider, a potential new 31 km long particle accelerator which will try to produce WIMPS by colliding intense beams of electrons and positrons (anti-electrons) at high energies.

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I was invited to write a lead article for Run Riot listing site of cultural happenings in and around London explaining how the project had come about. Great dealing with the lovely Ava Szajna-Hopgood.

Elizabeth Murton curated and expertly chaired our Lab. Talks+ sessions. We opened with a live link to Boulby Underground Laboratory for a remote tour with lab. director Prof Sean Paling who made our visit to the lab. last year possible.

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Chair of UK Dark Matter, LUX collaborator, UCL lecturer and enormously generous supporter of our project Dr Cham Ghag gave us an in depth talk on the latest dark matter detection experiments and theories

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Extraordinarily super clever Libby Heaney had us entangled with quantum theory, weaving and whispering and negotiating being in two states at the same time.

UCL History and Philosophy of Science lecturer Dr Chiara Ambrosio gave us her insights on visualising the invisible, and what can happen when art and science collide

1704 Guest Projects symposium Chiara Ambrosio

ending with a panel discussion joined by Kate Fahey on ideas from the day

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and lots of conversations over supper…

I had finished etching the pentagon plates and I had made the dodecahedron frame – it was time to put it all together.

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I did a test fit. Then spent 5 hours back at home heat pressing the plates with sublimation images; hints of dream worlds.

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I was quite pleased with the results and went to bed

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In the morning the colours had undergone some reaction to the metal and had either vanished or changed to a sort of purple hue (funnily enough often used to colour dark matter visualisations). I was also feeling I might just be making a large Moroccan lamp.

Time to embrace unexpected outcomes….

 

So I entered that tunnel where everything blurs and I shoot through the ether at uncontrollable speeds slammed rigid as I am blasted forward barely able to make any alterations to my predestined trajectory. Those faraway deadlines have arrived. I am writing from the middle. Trying to recall events that have passed unrecorded as the avalanche of admin hits home. Yet more funding applications, press releases, ticketing sites, contracts and applying emotional balm to frayed nerves.

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And now I am slung out the other side. Limp and disorientated, I will try to make sense of what just happened.

I got myself an orange boiler suit in preparation.

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I was generously given dark matter visualisation images by Ralf Kaehler and astrophysicist Tom Abel from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), a joint institute of Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory who worked on Terrence Malick’s IMAX documentary  “Voyage of time”.

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From these images I created my own interpretations for screen printing sugar lift

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The image was screen-printed on both sides of an aluminium pentagon

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using a sugar lift solution of camp coffee and Indalca paste, really sticky sweet and two coats are good, allowing the first to dry before applying the second

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The plates are then immersed in a bitumen bath

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the pooling of dark matter

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Once dried they are put in hot water, bubbles gather and the image emerges

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ready to etch (a dodecahedron has 12 sides)

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copper sulphate that catches in the throat, salt on the lips + hot water (500g+ 500g +3l )

a light froth and a pink blush quickly spreads

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fizzing and belching so that the plates must be weighted down, the copper separates out to appear as a thick red lichen to be scooped out, bath refreshed four times and after eight hours the metal erodes and restoration can begin

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galaxies appear as light breaks through

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In the meantime I did the first cloud chamber test to see the trails of cosmic particles.

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It was incredible. Mesmerizing. Captivating. So much activity going on all the time that we are unaware of.

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It all happens on such a small scale but draws you in to this strange landscape

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I have Alan Walker of The University of Edinburgh to thank for all his advice on building the chamber and for providing the anodised aluminium plate that really helps ensure a good result.

I learnt some interesting things from Paul Hill of Awesome Astronomy in his talk Dark Side of the Moon. That all the metal we use on earth has been deposited here by asteroid and other collisions from outer space – any metal that was part of the original lump of matter that became earth is trapped molten at the core. That the moon doesn’t pull but push – I am still trying to come to terms with it being me moving not the sea when the tides turn. This needs further research.

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Another mind bending talk was Adventures in the 7th Dimension a UCL lunchtime talk from Dr Jason Lotay. I knew I was at the right lecture when he said one of his favourite shapes was the dodecahedron. In the 4th dimension it becomes a hyperdodecahedron made up of 120 dodecahedra. We can never really see it – it is always a projection back into 3D.

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I thought I was following, then suddenly from the 4th dimension we are in the 7th and I don’t know how I got there. Then I remembered it’s all maths. I can’t visualise this.

As you go up in dimensions there can be more symmetries. There are special symmetries that happen only in the 7th dimension. This is Holonomy G2. We don’t know how to combine quantum theory with gravity. String theory says you replace dots with lines – instead of having zero dimensions they are one dimensional. Lines can be curved, geometry can start to appear. M-theory combines all the different string theories together into one but you have to have 11 dimensions in the universe for this to work.

11 = 4 (3D + time) +7 (G2)    =  serendipity

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Then a different experience that was purely sensual, Tree of Codes had me in tears for sheer pleasure. Taking inspiration from Jonathan Safran Foer’s book of the same name, which was physically carved out of the pages of another novel,

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Wayne McGregor,  Jamie xx and Olafur Eliasson collaborate seamlessly

Tree of Codes

a successful cross discipline collaboration is not about sharing knowledge but about tolerating each others ignorance…in this way gaps open for others to enter

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Hackney Today

Then it was time to move into Guest Projects….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress is slowly underway on my dodecahedron sculpture. Beginning with a rough mock up in card to gauge the size.

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I was relieved to finally finish screen printing the curse of the obelisk. Never had so many setbacks in a piece of work.

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Made of one single stone, dedicated to the solar gods, an obelisk is a fusion of the earthly and the divine. A symbol of power, piercing entry to the fickle world of the gods beyond the clouds, cursed and desired. Over 3,500 years old, the London Obelisk, raised on The Embankment for convenience sake, snubbed by a state embarrassed to revere a shady political gift made by a country they were about to undermine, fought its removal from the soil it was hewn from stands alone, separated from its twin. The gift to state made in 1811 lay fallen and uncollected in Alexandria until an eccentric Victorian adventurer (Sir James Edward Alexander, Knt.,C.B., K.C.L.S, F.R.C.E.) saw the twin in Paris and discovered that Britain’s prize had never been brought home. He found a fellow enthusiast with money and the pair designed a special vessel to contain the obelisk that could be towed behind a ship. The Olga set sail in 1877 but met a violent storm that broke the tow ropes and cast the obelisk adrift. Six men struck out in the storm to rescue the vessel but were never seen again. The obelisk however did not sink and was later discovered, recaptured and finally towed up the Thames to be set incongruously upon a plinth under the unblinking guardianship of Victorian repro Sphinx’s who traditionally would be outward facing to ward off evil, but spend their days eyeing the needle.

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I had an intriguing parcel arrive from the incredibly helpful Alan Walker from the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Edinburgh who is giving me loads of advice on building my cloud chamber. He has very kindly had an anodised aluminium plate made for me in his workshops. The plate is the one crucial component that has to be specially made so it was wonderful to find that he had done this for me.

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The black metal plate will sit on dry ice, it will be the viewing backdrop for all the cosmic particle trails and I can now get on with the next stage – making the insulated box.

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I have set up a hydroponics tent in my studio to create a dark space ready for filming once the cloud chamber is fully assembled and ready to test.

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On a very crisp bright day I took the crystal ball a short walk along the banks of the River Wey to the ruins of  Waverley Abbey.

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This was the very first Cistercian monastery founded in Britain 900 years ago by an Abbot and 12 monks from France.

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These images of the crystal ball set in different locations are part of research with a view to making a work about portals in time, space and imagination.

The first work you see at Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA is Kate Fahey’s delicate plumes from a multitude of explosions billowing into one giant cloud – Cumulative Loss.

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Through scale and fragility we sense the dust caught momentarily before it settles over devastation upon devastation. It sets a thoughtful tone to enter the lower gallery.

Lisa Porter’s glazed stoneware Connection X (Thank Finch for That) and Rodrigo Red Sandoval’s installation Satellite reflections were two works I was drawn to.

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Kate Fahey Superficie I

Kate Fahey’s Superficie images developed during a residency on the remote Isle of Coll were included in Reference Mollusk, a beautifully curated exhibition  with some timely concerns at new gallery space Gossamer Fog in Deptford.

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Solveig Settemsdal Singularity (video still)

“We are the goo that slipped out of the oceans 430 million years ago, the goo that changed the earth beyond repair, the goo that will fossilise, leaving only future archaeological relics”

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Justyna Kabala Feel Better

Helen Maurer re Composing at Danielle Arnaud had a delicate touch.

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Transferring from the forsaken voids of the Church of The Holy Trinity in York it brought with it the quiet sense of unease that comes when entering a darkened space on a summers day.

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The gentle chimes sounding from hidden spaces under cabinets added to the undercurrent of something slightly sinister

by exposing the construction of this fairy tale landscape Maurer adds rather than depletes mystery

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This was a captivating transformation of space at the House of St. Barnabus Chapel. Staccato is an audio-visual installation by Evy Jokhova

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exploring the interconnection between music, movement and ceremonial architecture

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featuring three sculptural works and a soundtrack made in collaboration with James Metcalfe.

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In similar vein, I was struck by Dr Rupert Till’s comment ‘architecture and acoustics are the same thing.’ He was speaking on the Radio 4 programme Did Stonehenge Sing? explaining the mysterious hum that emanates from the stones and how much more powerful the sounds would have been 3,000 years ago when all the stones were still standing. Thanks to Dr Till the lost sounds of Stonehenge have been reimagined for us to experience today.

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Finally made it to a meeting of the New Materialism reading group. The text was Veronica Strang Fluid Consistencies: Materiality and meaning in human engagements with water http://dro.dur.ac.uk/19432/1/19432.pdf  Points that struck me were the observation from Tilley that ‘knowledge of a thing is grounded in our bodily experience of it’ and it made me think of Plato’s debate on true belief and knowledge, although a different kind of knowledge it does come back to the idea of being there, of engaging on a physical level. We think of flowing rivers, water carried in clouds but not always of the movement of water around the globe held in a juicy pineapple or mango or even our own bodies. I was introduced  to the work of Samara Scott and her liquid painting Developer created with bio-degradable dyes in the Pleasure Garden Fountains in Battersea Park.

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The reading group meets at the Wellcome Trust Reading Room. On the same evening, another group was meeting to discuss materials as part of an collaborative programme between artists and scientists. I didn’t get to note down the names of participants, but a magician and an expert from the Institute of Materials had each brought along objects to spark debate. 1612 Wellcome Trust debate materials.jpg I liked the relationship struck between that of the magician as performer and the idea that the materials themselves are performing.

Turner Prize visit. Materials were performing here.

I found the materials of Helen Marten (left) difficult – though there were some I could enjoy like this wonderful ceramic disc I felt more of a connection to the materials of Michael Dean (right). It is something very basic about a reaction to the surface and the connotations it brings with it.

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Marten’s sculptures are very busy visually. Like a car boot sale, unexpected juxtapositions and mostly cheap and nasty material. (though I do appreciate the thought in her designs). Anthea Turner offered more open space, albeit surrounded by brick walls and facing giant theme park style buttocks, moving on to the next room offers open blue skies but also disturbing chastity belts. Heaven/Hell.

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Josephine Pryde brought us homely goods; thick kitchen worktops bleached by the sun leaving hazy shadows of random objects. Also painted fingernails. A sit on size train tastefully graffitied encountering leaves on the track.1612-josephine-pryde

Finally entering the space of Michael Dean; smoothly curved walls morph into the floor, a strange unworldly lighting (as in James Turrell light works – the walls disappear)  and you are in a void or maybe underwater.

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The work (United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016) consists of £20,436 in pennies. This is the amount of money the government states is the minimum that two adults and two children need to survive for a year in the UK.

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One penny has been removed. A family on the shore line/breadline, trying to keep their heads above water.

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This landscape has similarities to the war blasted landscapes of Paul Nash showing concurrently at Tate Britain.

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He too acknowledges the primitive power of single vertical forms.

Enjoyed the playful narrative of Bedwyr Williams’ The Gulch in the Barbican Curve.

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Always intriguing and despite ominous undertones uplifting through the sheer joy of following the surreal twists and turns of his stories.

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The simplicity of his constructions are part of the exuberance in his work, they provide the outlines for the journey.

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Went to see Melanie King’s installation Pulsar Oscillograph as part of SPACE/LCN showcase of projects that have been developed by artists with the support of the LCN programme over the course of 6 months.  

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Transforming audio pulsar data (supplied by artist and former astronomer Steve Aishman), Melanie uses laser beams and mirrors to draw these “sounds” captured from outer space onto phosphorescent paper. The images layering, building and fading to the frenetic beat of the spinning collapsed star. As part of The Laboratory of Dark Matters experimental residency at Guest Projects Melanie will develop an Oscillograph  to visualise data obtained from dark matter research scientists in their search for the missing 85% of matter.

 

I have been gathering tips and components to build a cloud chamber for viewing cosmic particles but mostly my time has been spent in funding application form filling.

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Feeling the admin has been taking over. Not a creative time and am also finding the ground is not so firm beneath our feet when it comes to securing the promise of a grant.

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Challenges ahead but Laboratory of Dark Matters is taking shape and we are listed on Guest Projects website link here.

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I have moved studio once again, only a very short distance but into my own space. This is so I can film the cosmic particles I hope to see in the cloud chamber in low lighting and mess about with dry ice. I am starting to plan work using imagery of the cosmic trails. Looking at pentagon facets of the dodecahedron.

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Made a trip to Allenheads Contemporary Arts for the final weekend of events of their major project As Above So Below that saw artists come together to explore a shared curiosity and quest to answer questions about our existence and relationship to our planet. Iron River was a beautiful live sound performance synched to a video installation from Bennett Hog and Sabine Vogel using an exposed piano frame, pebbles and bass flute to describe the extraction process of iron ore abundant in the local water.

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Eerie sounds, almost words, deep and earthy boomed from the woods and echoed around the valley in Neal Willis’ coded interpretation of barbed wire patterns What Language of the Fox? I thought Bill Aitchison’s Stuck In The Middle With You was brilliant. The recording of his performance was positioned in the spot where the original delivery took place during the summer – the view on the screen and out through the window was the same, just browner outside now.

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Listening to Bill make connections, set up a scenario only to knock it down became mesmerizing and addictive, I was swept away.  Listen to this work at the link above.

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Lucien Anderson’s Prototype 2, or Splashdown floats in enigmatic isolation on the Allenheads reservoir.

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There is video relay to an observatory tent but it looks like contact may be lost…

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Thresholds (Proximity, Distance and Loss) a poignant video installation from Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman was running in the coal shed featuring sound from Lost Cosmonaut a recording from 1962 purporting to be broadcast from a damaged, State abandoned, Russian spacecraft overlaid onto imagery from a remote and subsequently abandoned Northumbrian village.

Pat Naldi’s research unearthed song lyrics written in criticism of the local mine owner during the early 19thC which the local Dale Singers performed on the green for Assembly 2016

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Alan Smith From NVC 100 to 10 Thoughts both reduces and expands inquiry as he condenses big questions into a series of 10 thoughts. Set in the cosy cosmos of his caravan it is a personal exploration of the very wide world we are invited to share in.

Bridget Kennedy installed The Measure Of It over the opening to Gin Hill Mine Shaft referencing the opening of seams for mining in medieval times when a prescribed square measure was termed an Ancient Meer and an oath was taken to claim ownership.

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“I swear by God and all the saints, and I call them all to witness, this is my vein; moreover if it’s not mine, I neither this my head or these my hands henceforth perform their functions” from De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola.

Also made a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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The current headline show was from Not Vital – big shiny heavyweight sculpture, inside & outside. A lot of metal.

Was a nice surprise to discover Roger Hiorns Seizure has found a home here. Just as dazzling inside but a shame its place of genesis, the totally incongruous London estate setting is lost.

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Excited to experience James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace.

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The elements have left their mark on the floor.

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Incredible how the light changes the space, and framing the sky in this way makes it so luminous and almost tangible at the same time.

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When gazing up through the aperture of a ‘Skyspace’  it’s important to give your eyes time to adjust to gain the full reward. The contemplative state, like fire watching, that Turrell induces in his audience is common to all people through all time. He is fascinated by early cultures in which the position of the sun, moon and stars are responded to through environment. He appreciates light has a strong connection to our spiritual beliefs. Light is the materialization of energy. We are naturally eaters of light, our whole body is scattered with stray rods and cones outside of the retinal area which makes our relationship to light very primal. Our bodies are made from matter fed by the fruits of photosynthesis. Light is life. In using the stuff of nature as medium a direct connection is made between our body and the universe.

Caspar Sawyer’s exhibition Gamut at Thames-side Studios Gallery was another way of considering how our brains decipher the light messages that are fed to them, this show was about the pixilation of our world.

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Most striking are the giant heads of the 3 Kims triptych, leering in and out of focus as the angle and distance of perspective varies as you move around the gallery. The camera however, reverts the image back to tiny pixels and into focus. They are really not that clear to the naked eye when you are in the gallery.

The media construction of the larger than life characters made evident in oversized pixels.

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The sublime dissolving into sub-pixel RGB grids as we move too close.

Vibrant colour blocks as pixelated studies of constructed titles – internet searches for an image that best represents one word,

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reduced to pixels and blended with other word searches until the image represents the title – the source images never known even to the artist.

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And my favourite – This Moment is the Most Profound Experience You Will Ever Have in Your Whole Life (in progress)

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The image is revealed as a moving reflection of your body as you traverse the space, a shadow that casts light. Quite profound really. I am light.

Total takeover -Alex Hartley’s ‘architectural intervention’ A Gentle Collapsing II at Victoria Miro is wonderfully indulgent romanticism

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Stepping though the gallery doors to the garden becomes stepping though a portal to another time and place.

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The edges of reality blur as it isn’t clear where fantasy begins and ends. It is a place to enact and dream and enjoy its unreal realness.

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Other works inside are just as bewitching; paintings like translucent marble slabs  with hidden inner lives.

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Frosty surfaces shielding mysterious landscapes. Concrete pretending to be wood.

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I am always impressed by Alex Hartley.

Holly Graham showing After Harry Jacobs: The Studio and hypnotic looped animation After Harry Jacobs: Basket in Backdrop at ASC Studios as part of Artlicks weekend. ‘the works in the exhibition engage the backdrop as a context for action and seek to question the perception of its neutral or auxiliary role.’

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Scarlett Mueller creates her stunning hand printed woodcuts through layering techniques. At Anise Gallery for I Saw it Whole her work had been deconstructed and reimagined in a VR experience allowing the viewer to digitally enter the image. It was fun but unnecessary, her work has space for the viewer to enter without digital enhancement.

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There is something extra green about the green that is exposed on the river banks at low tide.  These glistening and gelatinous edges are captured by Anne Krinsky  in Tide Line Thames along with distressed defences like scabs barely holding together the banks of the old river. (old not ancient).

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Mysterious architecture, cogs, slippery steps, lengths and measures map out a life that dissects London, is passed over again and again without thinking. This exhibition is a pause in that momentum to look at the environment in the raw.

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Adding layers. Infinite Mix an off-site iteration from the Hayward Gallery. Sound and moving image. Some very raw and powerful images drilled into the mind with earworm rhythms and stanzas. Excellent stuff.

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Cyprien Gaillard Nightlife 

 

 

 

Research at St. James Weybridge for work thinking about collapsing space in on itself, moving from one space to another via portals, holes in space time, or dream spaces and spiritual spaces.

Seeing intertidal steel plate propped up with the print on my desk has given me some ideas about building images and the idea of opposites. Earth and heaven. If they are as in some myths, a mirror image – how do we know which way is up?

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Happened upon a large very shiny bowl that I will try with new submīrārī images in water.

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It already does amazing things before any water is added. It only came in one size so need to try and find some similar (may be an excuse to go to India where this one was made). Plan to transfer some images from sacred spaces to fabric for the bowls and begin to look for more saints and sacred springs to photograph too to join Mary from St.Non’s holy well.

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The Royal Society Summer Exhibition was a fantastic showcase for science research across the UK, manned by enthusiastic practitioners it was hands on and minds engaged.

It is thought that at the BIG BANG the same number of matter and anti mater particles would have been produced – they then went about colliding with each other – annihilating into photons. We are awash in photons – particles of light. It’s still unknown what  happened to leave enough matter to create all the stars and galaxies and planets of the universe.

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Follow this link  to Antimatter Matters for an in depth explanation of what is going on at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in the search to understand why matter outnumbers antimatter in the universe.

In some information about ring-imaging Cherenkov detectors that distinguish between different types of charged particle such as muons, protons, pions and kaons I was curious to read that particles travel through the gas volume of the detector at faster than the speed of light emitting a coherent shockwave of light – I didn’t think it was possible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light.1607 positron_discovery

Had a chat with Grieg Cowan who, it turns out, helps run a schools outreach programme demonstrating cloud chambers, and explained my interest in particle physics and how I am planning to build a cloud chamber myself inspired by our trip to the Dark Matter Research Laboratory at Boulby. Obviously I won’t be able to make visible any dark matter particles but I am still excited about making other cosmic rays visible and capturing my own images of these tiny projectiles hurtling around us.

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Inspired by bubbles, researchers at the University of Bath studying photonics have created a new hollow glass fibre optic to channel high powered lasers. The walls of these tubes are designed to trap light of particular wavelengths in the core. The effect is similar to the reflection of different wavelengths by the thin film of a bubble.

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The laser loses less energy as the beam travels through air rather than solid glass.

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Fascinating and useful stuff but it was the bubble machine that was the most captivating. The thin soapy membrane stretches, reflecting and refracting light until the skin becomes so thin the light passes straight through – it is this mix of colour and turning to black that is so beautiful and mesmerizing.

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I got to make my own mini spectroscope using a piece of ridged plastic cut from a CD to diffract the light into a cardboard tube and a brief instruction of how to identify differences in LED, fluorescent and even the light on a smart phone which is created using a spectrum plus added blue (cheaper this way).

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The Planck satellite was launched in 2009 into orbit about 1.5 million kilometres away from earth. Over three years it has mapped the whole sky and observed the cosmic microwave background – the afterglow of the big bang when electrons and protons first combined to form transparent hydrogen gas allowing light to travel – it was like a fog lifting across the entire universe.

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The forces of gravity and pressure from trapped light balanced each other creating a slow oscillation of matter through very low frequency sound waves –  the music of the stars. These harmonics can be read and interpreted in cosmological theory supported by the data from Planck. From data gathered by Planck scientists calculate –

4.9% – Normal matter in the Universe
26.8% – Dark matter in the Universe
68.3% – Dark energy
67.8km/s/Mpc  – Expansion rate of the Universe
550 million years – Reionization from first stars forming
13.8 billion years  – Age of the Universe

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There were of course discoveries that didn’t fit in with the standard model and theoretical predictions. Questions about hemispheric asymmetry and the ginormous cold spot remain. A small fraction of the CMB is polarised and this means it contains even more information and may hold further clues about the very early phases of the Universe’s history and also its present and future expansion.

The European Rosetta space mission and Philae explorer spent 10 years travelling to visit Comet 67P.

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Arriving in 2014 at a celestial object with almost no gravity they sent back news of a dusty world of ice and gas but one that also has traces of the building blocks necessary to create life.

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The  Galaxy Makers were there with supercomputer simulations to test how galactic ingredients and violent events shape the life history of galaxies.

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Following a recipe I created my own galaxy which was given a code and could be brought to life using a hologram video, my smartphone and a plastic galaxy maker I was provided with. I can’t convey with a photo how cool this tiny spiral galaxy rotating over my phone screen is.

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From godlike galaxy gazing to immersive hurtling between the stars dodging between fronds of dark matter magically made visible by a virtual reality headset, Durham University had it covered.

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Space is full of dust. Stardust. On earth I believe it is mostly made up of dead skin cells. Jorge Otero-Pailos’ The Ethics of Dust is an impressive interaction with centuries of dust accumulation in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament.

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Stripping the ancient walls of the patina of age, the build up from the passing through of countless dignitaries and ne’er do wells, onto a latex cast that is then hung like a skinned animal the length of the impressive hall.

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The surface is thick velvet, wrinkled like a newborn.

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and the birthmarks of provenance can be matched to those on the opposing wall.

Taking both her cue from and her place in history Mary Branson’s New Dawn light sculpture can also be found at the Houses of Parliament as a permanent addition to Westminster Hall, a site of many demonstrations calling for change.

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Inspired by the many hundreds of petitions made to the government by women fighting for a right to vote that lie furled in the archives of the chambers; the scrolls are  transformed to glass.

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The circles, that together form one large sun rising, change colour and pattern via a computer link to the monthly cycle of the pull of the moon on the waters of the Thames.

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Paid a worthwhile visit to Imperial College Sherfield Building Gallery to see Chud Clowes show Murmurations inspired  by analogies between the swirling clouds of migrating starlings flashing gold from their feathers and the gold of the rescue blankets offered to desperate migrants drawn to collective movement across borders.

Catching up with RCA Alumni and celebrating this years graduate show. The atmosphere was unfortunately tempered by the nation having hit the self destruct button on the previous day. A world turned upside down.(courtesy of Nayoun Kang)

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Despite some uplifting and inspiring work my thoughts were very distracted and so I only have a few images to share.

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Mollie Teane’s sunshine colours showing a multi-layered collision of cultures was just a reminder of the cultural poverty a brexit vote signals.

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Kristina Chan’s monumental monoprint to the slow time of geology

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and primordial instincts that even Hoyeon Kang’s simulated fire invokes serve as reminders of the tiny fragment of time we inhabit.

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Mayra Ganzinotti’s beautiful interplay of the body with crystals made me think of this grounding inscription,

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taking us back to the essence of ourselves.

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Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presented Magical Surfaces: The Uncanny in Contemporary Photography, an exhibition that explored the uncanny as exemplified in the works of seven artists : Sonja Braas, David Claerbout, Elger Esser, Julie Monaco, Jörg Sasse, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld. For me it seemed more about the unreal than the uncanny.

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Queued theme park style (actually it wasn’t that long) to experience Yayoi Kusama’s mirror rooms next door at Victoria Miro for a brief 30 second immersion. Like entering the Tardis momentarily. The attraction may be triggering a primordial response to galaxy gazing that makes this reflected infinity so captivating.

More multiplicity and reflective surfaces with Sinéid Codd at Camberwell School of Art MA show.

This was a world caught between sci fi and the surreal. Inspired by the shapes and colours of gaudy jewellery it maintains that buoyancy of brash confidence found in oversized boldy faceted gemstones. Not afraid to be fake, like costume jewellery out-glitzing real diamonds. I saw clouds, a summer pavilion by the sea, here shapes morph into a world of shifting surfaces to drown in.

 

There was an inspiring look at the transformation of materials from Simon Starling at Nottingham Contemporary. This work explored the physical, poetic and metaphorical journeys of objects and materials. He considers transformation that can take place through the geographic, the economic and through time.

He is also interested in the physical properties of photography, which he has recast as sculpture through epic distortions of scale in The Nanjing Particles. Silver particles taken from 1875 photographs are enlarged a million times.

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Project for a Crossing is a new work where Simon Starling has built a boat out of magnesium extracted from the politically contested waters of the Dead Sea.

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After the exhibition he intends to use his magnesium boat to cross the Dead Sea – a fraught geopolitical journey that may only be partially possible since the Dead Sea lies between Jordan, Israel and the Israeli occupied West Bank.

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Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting from 1771-95  The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers is the subject for one of the series Recursive Plates. 

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Ephemeral daguerreotypes, created with a delicate chemical deposit on silver plated copper, that reflect back and hold within the same image.

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Phosphorus was discovered by accident in 1669 when Hennig Brand was boiling down thousands of litres of urine in his quest for the Philosopher’s Stone. It gave of an unearthly glow and then what a magical moment when phosphorus first ignited and the brilliant light filled the room.

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A few hundred years on and phosphorous, the 13th element to be discovered has been terribly misused as a cruel weapon.