Archives for posts with tag: electrons

Lizard Point Residency Exhibition travelled from the rambling halls of The Museum of Cornish Life in Helston to the subterranean curves of Lumen Studios Crypt at St. John on Bethnal Green London. A squeeze for eighteen artists but helped by the crossovers in work created responding to the communication heritage and dark skies of the Cornish Coast experienced during the early spring residency.

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My contribution to this exhibition At a distance (click for video link) 

Solitary figures using semaphore flags sign ‘We Are One’ out across the ocean; filmed on 29th March 2019 (the first date the UK was supposed to leave the EU).

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As in entanglement theory where two paired electrons mirror each other at a distance it is hoped the message will be echoed back.

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The work looks at methods of communication across space. It relates this to the mysterious twinning of electrons in quantum entanglement where particles link in a way that they instantly affect each other, even over vast distances, and which Einstein famously called ‘spooky action at a distance’. The resulting video is back projected onto a Fresnel lens, the type found in lighthouses to increase luminosity of the lamps beam, another form of messaging over distance.

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The semaphore sequences interplay with mirrored imagery of the lizard lighthouse lamp as it powers up gaining brilliance as darkness falls.

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Astro-archaeologist Carolyn Kennet gave a very interesting talk at the exhibition private view. We often think about how long it takes light to travel from the stars to us but as she pointed out, this year sees the 400 year anniversary of Lizard Lighthouse and if you were looking back towards Earth from the Pleiades which are around 400 lightyears away you would just be seeing the photons of light arriving from the lighthouse as the first fires were lit to guide the ships navigating the treacherous rocky seas.

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A short video documenting Continuum has been released by Allenheads Contemporary Arts. An inspiring season of art, science and speculative fiction ending in a midsummer’s weekend of extraordinary events.

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Out of Studio…

Other Spaces at 180 The Strand

Light and Sound Installations from London-based United Visual Artists founded by Matt Clark who integrate new technologies with traditional media such as painting, sculpture, performance, and site-specific installation.

Vanishing Point is inspired by Renaissance drawings by Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albrecht Durer.

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The Great Animal Orchestra –  a soundscape of animal recordings, captured in their natural habitats around the world by sound ecologist Bernie Krause visualised by UVA into abstract spectrogram landscapes of the environments where the animals live.

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ERRATA (Extreme Remote Rural Artist Travel Agency) Gaada hosted by Creekside Artists for Artlicks Weekend 2019.

Ever wished to leave the city for a far away place + a new island life? Shetland artist-led initiative Gaada critically explore the barriers and benefits of contemporary art practice in extreme, remote, rural contexts. What does an art ecology look like without buyers / galleries / studios / making facilities / public transport links ?

London visitors were invited to answer questions posed by the artists and consider how an art practice might be sustained outside of the city.

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Emerging Cosmic Landscapes Symposium at University College London.

An event exploring the benefits of art/science relationships at the culmination of Lisa Pettibone’s year-long residency at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL) along with collaborator Dr Tom Kitching, science lead on MSSL’s Euclid Mission and Ben Murray (Kings College London and co-director of Phenotypica). What came across was the shared benefit of cross discipline collaboration. The artist enjoying access to question the motivations of the scientists and observe their operations while opening up a more sensory approach for the scientists to engage with materials and use hands on ‘play’ to explore ideas.

‘The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained’ David Bohm

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The Star Survey Workshop at Guest Projects created by Niccolò Moronato.

‘We base our knowledge of the universe on science and scientific exactitude, but at the same time, we can’t help but use exotic drawings in the sky to orient our searching and predict future events. So what would happen if we moved to an entirely new context?’

Through a scientific collaboration with Chicago’s Adler Planetarium Niccolò Moronato was able to obtain the first photographic view of the sky from Trappist-1, a ‘twin’ planet of Earth located 40 light years away and make an attempt to become familiar with the new sky.

In the workshop we were invited to draw upon random patterns taken from the Trappist sky. Our interpretations were then looked at by the group to tell a story from the collective imagination which would become the mythology of this alien constellation.

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Artist Workshops at The Bomb Factory with Kate Fahey and curator Séamus McCormack as part of  ‘Scaffold’

We were invited to bring along an object / text / image, which has been key in the development of a recent work or has been sitting in the studio and is in someway relevant to a project you are working on or your wider artistic practice. We each wrote our thoughts about one of the items brought and then discussed our responses as a group. This led to wider conversations about work methods and outcomes which helped analyse the process of creating to give us shared insights into the creative process. This was followed by a discussion on support structures an artist relies on and a closer look at how an artists time and energy is divided between creativity and practice maintenance such as social media, open calls, galleries and finance.

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The exhibition Scaffold looks at the structures we may encounter in our daily and digital lives and the anxiety we feel when those structures break down. Situations are posed of an overload of information, loss of a wi-fi signal, loss of memory, incomprehensible data, the inability to access information. The fallibility of how information is stored and communicated whether in the mind, on a data stick, a book, in radio waves, remotely via drone and digital signals is considered. The overall effect leaves the viewer on unstable ground looking for that scaffolding to hold onto to, a return to the body and the physically known.

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Kate Fahey’s practice explores embodied experiences with contemporary screen-based, techno-scientific images, reimagining bodily presence in the military’s highly mediated representation of warfare online. Adam Gibney’s works highlight the relationship between scientific uncertainties and the anxious state we sometimes occupy. Jonathan Mayhew is interested in moments when edges blur and ideas of ourselves along with the world around us are ruptured.

 

In my first brush with particle physics I discovered the language to be quite like that of mythology, full of mysterious characters like the charm quark and strange quark, the muon neutrino and the tau. These characters are governed by fundamental forces like the strong force and the weak force that cannot be seen or explained other than by their attributes – just like the mythical gods.  I have recently been working my way through The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. It attempts to explain the theories of quantum physics.

1512 The quantum UniverseI’m not sure how this will ultimately feed into my work and the maths is way beyond me but I am excited by the possibilities it explores. I find this unpredictable world that operates on an unimaginably tiny scale fascinating. It is hard to grasp certain concepts as the theories cannot be visualized. Subatomic particles, physicist Richard Feynman tells us, do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen.

Back in 1927 scientists Davisson and Germer did an experiment firing electrons through two slits in a screen. They expected a certain pattern to appear on the screen on the other side as the electrons hit that surface. The interference pattern that did appear gave the impression that a wave had passed through the two slits rather than a series of particles yet on the collecting screen were tiny dots not a continuous wave like surface. Something very strange was happening – and from then on physicists have had to rethink how things move around the universe.

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Anders Jonas Ångström discovered in 1853 that each element emits its own unique spectrum of coloured light when heated. This is spectroscopy. There is a handbook on this by Heinrich Kayser – Handbuch der Spectroscopie which is online but not the simple colour chart I was hoping for. Quantum physics has been able to explain why these coloured lights are unique to each element and astronomers have been able to use these codes to work out the chemical composition of the stars.

I signed up for a sunrise walk with Royal Society Research Fellow Lucie Green as part of Tate Modern’s weekend of events – Light and Dark Matters. Lucie researches the activity and atmosphere of our nearest star. The walk however was marked by the extreme absence of sun. Horizontal sleet whipped at us as we stood on the millennium bridge, blustery snow forced us to huddle under the arches of the Bank of England.

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Soaked through and bitterly cold we contemplated the effects on our economy of the massive hot plasma ball and the space weather it produces.1512 Sunrise walk (1)

Geomagnetic storms with massive solar flares can send huge surges of electric currents to course through the earth and knock out the electric grid of cities that sit on a solid rock base where the current is trapped.

In the afternoon was a panel discussion Are we darkened by the light? with Catherine Heymans, Katie Paterson and Marek Kukula chaired by Asif Khan.

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The artificial light that floods our lives hides from us the magnitude of the night sky. Astrophysicist Catherine Heymans gave a moving account of how a chance internship in the Australian outback opened her eyes to the stars and began her love of astronomy.

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There were so so many stars – she, like many of us, had been robbed of this amazing experience for years, so yes we are darkened by the light.  The universe is an arena of extremes; the longest timescales the hottest temperatures, the largest voids of utter emptiness. An astronomer can only observe what the universe chooses to reveal through light. For most people darkness is the absence of light, it is light being absorbed by something. For scientists darkness means that the object doesn’t emit light. Dark matter does not emit light, it should really be called invisible matter. Millions of dark matter particles flood though us all the time yet we still haven’t managed to identify even one particle.

There is so much unknown about the fundamental truths of our universe but with new technology more and more is revealed to us. The gravitational bending of light is one way to ‘see’ dark matter. In the next few years the European Space Agency are launching a new super powerful telescope Euclid that will image the whole sky in its quest for Dark Matter.

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Katie Paterson spoke about her work while burning a candle that released scents in ever disturbing layers beginning with wet basement as we projected through our atmosphere towards interstellar space.

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The candle’s 12 hour olfactory journey though earth smells includes geraniums, tar, old pennies, raspberries, rum and sulphuric acid finally snuffing itself out on reaching the scentless void of a black hole. Katie Paterson was the first artist to launch a piece of art into space.1512 melting

Working at the sort of extreme temperatures found in the conditions of creation within the universe  she undertook melting and re-casting a meteorite. She was resetting the meteorite’s inner cosmic clock.

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Reformed, the meteorite was launched back into space to reach the International Space Station returning once again to earth perhaps this time burning up in the atmosphere on re-entry.1512 launch

It is usual to think about what is revealed to us by light but Marek Kukula also wanted to show what can be revealed through shadow and darkness.  In Dark Frame, made by Woolfgang Tillmans while visiting the European Space Observatory in Chile, the image displayed on the screen is of the digital camera chip before an image is captured.

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It reveals the flaws and aberrations in the dark space of the camera itself. Darkness is not always as dark as we expect.

Galileo Galilei shocked 17th Century society when he pointed a telescope at the moon and made drawings of the shadows he observed. His drawings demonstrated that the moon was not the smooth and perfect celestial object set in the sky that people had believed.1512 galileoThe movement of the shadows showed a lumpy pitted surface rather like earth. Maybe we weren’t so special after all.

We still use darkness and shadow today to understand what the universe is like.1512 starWith ever more powerful telescopes we have been able to determine that all the visible stars in the universe have their own solar system. We know this because as a planet moves across a star the light dips by a tiny amount, enough to be registered. The shadow of the planet gives it away.

What he told us next I found quite hard to grasp and I keep thinking about how can this be true and what does it mean for us. Astronomers chose a tiny piece of sky that looked black with no stars in it – from earth it would be the size of a grain of sand.  They pointed the Hubble telescope at this piece of sky for 10 days. It cost £50,000 an hour to do this. It collected light for 10 days and this is what it saw….

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This tiny fragment of sky was full of galaxies. In extrapolation this means there are at least One Hundred Thousand Million galaxies in the observable universe.

The scale is beyond imagining yet in this image there is still blackness between the galaxies, this tells us something fundamental. If the universe was infinite and had been around for ever then every part of sky would be filled with stars – the image would be would be completely bright. So as there are still black parts we can deduce that the universe hasn’t been around forever and is not infinite. We understand that our universe hasn’t been around for ever from the big bang theory but does this prove there was nothing before?  Does this prove there is an  edge with nothing beyond? It is hard to grasp as the distances are so vast.  Would light from so far away have got here by now – was 10 days long enough to look?  I keep thinking about it.

In the image of all the galaxies we see some areas of distortion caused by gravitational lensing that is the clue to dark matter existing. How do we represent what we can’t see? Here dark matter is shaded in as a blue haze but it gives a false impression of what dark matter is.1512 blue dark matter

Scientists often colour space images using black and orange as the human eye is good at seeing detail in this combination. For the Planetarium Show Dark Universe at the Greenwich Observatory the American scientists decided to use a different colour scheme. Inverting the black sky to white and the dark matter to black the bright conglomerations of galaxies are shown nestling within filaments and tendrils of dark matter. 1512 dark matter

This new image gives a poetic insight into how our universe is bound together by unseen forces. Marek ended his talk quoting a poem by dark matter research astronomer Rebecca Elsen who died in 1999.

Let there Always be Light (Searching for Dark Matter)

For this we go out dark nights, searching
For the dimmest stars,
For signs of unseen things:

To weigh us down.
To stop the universe
From rushing on and on:

Into its own beyond
Till it exhausts itself and lies down cold,
Its last star going out.

Whatever they turn out to be,
Let there be swarms of them,
Enough for immortality,
Always a star where we can warm ourselves.

Let there be enough to bring it back
From its own edges,
To bring us all so close we ignite
The bright spark of resurrection.

Rebecca was hoping for a rebirth of the universe but it’s not what looks like will happen. Dark energy is causing the universe to expand at a faster and faster rate. Dark matter doesn’t look like it will be able to prevent it reaching a point of collapse.

Dark energy is not a force but it is having an effect.

How do we explain these phenomena of the universe when we do not have the words?  Physicist Werner Heisenburg replied – fortunately mathematics isn’t subject to this limitation. Marek Kukula concluded – Perhaps art is not subject to this limitation either?

It was good to see an exhibition of works entirely devoted to finding ways of expression for our experiences of the universe.
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Mahal de Man

Melanie King and Louise Beer not only collaborate as super/collider with Chris Hatherill but also run Lumen with Raymond Hemson  – an artists collective based in Bethnal Green that once a year heads up a residency in the small village of Atina, Italy away from light pollution that hides the stars from Londoners.

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Nettie Edwards

They aim to inspire a dialogue about how humanity understands existence in providing an opportunity for artists to encounter the night skies and make work in response to their experiences.

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Peiwen Li

Lumen iii LA LUCE DELLE STELLE at the Crypt Gallery, Kings Cross was the result of the last residency.

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Eva Rudlinger

Exhibiting artists: Naomi Avsec, Louise Beer, Molly Behagg, Samuel Brzeski, Alice Dunseath, Nettie Edwards, Jaden Hastings, Osheen Harruthoonyan, Raymond Hemson, Emilia Izquierdo, Elena Karakitsou, Melanie King, Claire Krouzecky, Peiwen Li, Mahal de Man, Yaz Norris, Lisa Pettibone, Marta Pinilla, Natasha Sabatini, Alice Serraino, Joshua Space, Eva Rudlinger, Sisetta Zappone, Qing Zhou

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Melanie King

I am hoping I have put the right name to the right work but I couldn’t quite get to grip with the map so apologies if I got any wrong.

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Sisetta Zappone

As I learnt at the Princes School of Traditional Arts looking for patterns in nature leads to geometry.

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Manifold Design ‘345 in RGB’

Manifold Design exhibiting at the 56th Venice Biennale are an architects studio that questions the relationship of physical materials and properties to conceptual constructions.

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Manifold Design ‘345 in RGB’

‘345 in RGB’ supposes a landscape composed of fundamental elements.

In the context of interconnectedness Eduardo Basualdo makes work that tests our understanding of material. Generating  elements that work together to reflect the way the universe  connects through opposing forces and results in a precarious act of balance. As in quantum physics we must look at the world differently.

1512 Venice Eduardo Basualdo

Eduardo Basualdo Grito

These quotes from Eduardo Basualdo about his work Grito are taken from an interview with Javier Villa

“The pieces shown in Venice are practical exercises to test strengths we humans have to interact with the material world and modify it. In this case the question was how to break an iron bar using pencil and paper, and where to do it…this happens, from my point of view, in the plane of the imagination”

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Eduardo Basualdo Grito

“The paper is an X­ray, it becomes a lens through which we view that metal and we see it as a different state of matter, as in a dimensional leap. The Biennial spoke of the possible futures and the actions that we may exert on matter, the violence on the material is a way you have of building your own future. Of nor depositing it either in the hands of religion, or of technology, or of politics.”

A piece from my series everydaymatters was selected to show in Space Between at The Stone Space, Leytonstone. This was a group show of work which inhabits the space between perceived reality and abstraction.

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Susan Eyre everydaymatters (palm SW4)

The gallery also hosted an afternoon of artist talks. A good chance to explain and exchange ideas.1512 Space Between

My interest in the origins of the idea of paradise and wondering what exactly I was looking at when I went out to photograph locations led me to the CERN website. From reading about the standard model and dark matter I discovered some amazing theories about what we can and can’t see. Now I have been reading about how electrons leap about exploring the entire universe in an instant on their journey. I have a lot of questions.