Archives for posts with tag: Galaxy

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.

1607 Royal Society Fibre optics

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

1607 Royal Society laser

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.

1607 Royal Society bubbles

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.

1607 Planck Cosmic microwave background

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.

1607 Comet 67P

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.

1607 Mary Branson New Dawn (1)

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.

1607  Mary Branson New Dawn (3)

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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)

1607 Nayoung Kang

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.

1607 Sonja Braas Firestorm

1607 Stephen Shore

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.

1607 Simon Starling

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.

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Dr. Chamkaur Ghag’s talk Dark Matter presented by super/collider at Second Home was inspirational in many ways. It was fascinating to hear a first hand account of how the search for dark matter is conducted and the challenges that face scientists looking for something so elusive. We learnt that there are underground laboratories around the world where research takes place away from background radiation which makes it harder to isolate any particles that might be dark matter.

The occurrence of dark matter was first theorized through the pioneering research of Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky who in 1933 looked at galaxy rotation curves and decided there was more going on than could be accounted for by the mass of the matter we could see. Something mysterious was holding the galaxies together. It is dark matter that allows structures in the universe to form by pulling matter into the gravitational field of pools of dark matter.

It could be that Plato accounted for dark matter when he assigned this role to the fifth platonic solid – the dodecahedron as ‘a fifth construction which God used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven’ – a concept that I used as a framework for Pairi Daêza

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Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Using the net pattern that is used to construct a dodecahedron to mesh together images of constellations, an abandoned walled garden and a roundabout.  Recent imaging of dark matter derived from the way it distorts light shows it as a web like structure.

It is still not known what dark matter is, it does not reflect or emit light and doesn’t interact with the fundamental forces except gravity. At present there is speculation that it might be a WIMP – a weakly interacting massive particle and the difficulty in confirming this theory is in witnessing a particle collision with the nucleus of an atom. The majority of these particles pass through the earth without even hitting an atom.

It was exciting to find out we have one of these underground laboratories in the UK set in a working salt mine north of Whitby. The Boulby Underground Laboratory is a special place for science – ‘a quiet place in the Universe’. The ZEPLIN dark matter experiment ran here until 2011 using a liquid Xenon target. Xenon is a liquid gas that glows with a very pure light. Should a dark matter particle hit the atom nucleus there is a scintillation in the crystals and light is given off, also a little heat and ionisation. Only the dark matter particle will hit the nucleus of the atom, other particles, gamma rays etc will hit the electrons first giving a faint flash that can identify them. The detector must be very sensitive which is why they need to go deep underground away from background radiation. The program moved to LUX at a disused gold mine in the USA but is due to return to Boulby for work on a much larger scale.

1511 Underground Xenon detector

Studies at Boulby range from the search for Dark Matter in the Universe, to studies of cosmic rays and climate, astrobiology and life in extreme environments, development of techniques for deep 3D geological monitoring and studies of radioactivity in the environment.

The most exciting part is that a group of RCA graduates, myself included, will be able to visit the facilities early next year with a view to making work in response to the research taking place there. I am really hoping that we can organise a touring exhibition of work made in relation to this and engage people in these fascinating concepts, to think about our place in the universe and the extraordinary nature of everyday matter.

Elizabeth Murton who runs the peer crit group Engine ChatChat organised an artists sharing dinner at Bow Arts and invited along artists who use textiles in their work so we could chat and exchange ideas about our work. The guests included Kirsty Lowry, Lizzie Cannon, Katherine May, Jessica Hemmings, Jessica Smulder-Cohen, Ruby Hoette, Angela Maddock, Malina Busch, Jodie Carey, Lauren Jetty Howells-Green. We all gave a little presentation and chatted over dinner about our interests and the different reasons why we might use textiles in our work.

Lizzie Cannon meticulously repairs the cracks and decay of the material world.

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Angela Maddock investigates how we might use craft practice, especially knitting, to question ideas about our relationships with people and objects.

Diana Springall has a passion for embroidery and hopes to instigate a major retrospective of embroidered works.

Diana Springall

Diana Springall

Jessica Hemmings is a writer who has researched textiles as a distinctive area of cultural practice and a developing field of scholarly research.

Ruby Hoette proposes alternate modes of accessing and engaging with fashion. She frames the garment as a unique artefact carrying traces of social and cultural interactions and transactions.

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Lost and Collected is an ongoing project that documents and maps lost and discarde clothing and proposes an alternate understanding of the value of a garment.

Jessica Smulders Cohen’s passion is creating a sustainable textile and fashion industry her film is watchable via  the password is “fibreshed” https://vimeo.com/136830440

Kirsty Lowry is interested in psychological space and also makes work with light and I particularly like her electric prints using the conductive qualities of graphite.

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Hannah Collins showing at Camden Arts Centre also investigates the emotional and psychological aspects of space. Her exhibition presented the open spaces of the dessert and the dense closure of the rain forest.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The poetry of the wall plaques was at odds with the clinical display of the photographs of medicinal plants of the rainforest. Two perspectives brought crashing together.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The Fertile Forest shared a resonance with the Taryn Simon exhibit at the Venice Bienalle. In Hannah Collins work it was power of knowledge that is being lost whereas Taryn Simon looked at displays of power in the corporate and political world, documenting the flowers used in the bouquets and arrangements that were the backdrop to moments in history.  Coming from very different places both artists show the diverse ways we use plants in our culture.

Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Formal formality

Taryn Simon at Venice Biennale

Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Katherine May is interested in plants as a resource for dyes and perfumes

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Jodie Carey painstakingly extracts dyes from flowers to colour the yarn for her crochet. Flowers here are a metaphor for the fragility of life.

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

The bouquet of cut flowers prepared as a gift of love is already a symbol of death.

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

We are all flowers growing on this earth, picked by God at some point, a little earlier for some, a little later for others. One is crimson rose, another the virginal lily, another the humble violet. Let us all try to please the Lord and Master, with the perfume or radiance we were given.    from a letter written to his father by the soon to be executed J.Theophane Venard 1861.

Danh vo

Danh vo

Danh Vo invokes demons in the Danish Pavilion. Fragments of belief. A whiff of the Catholic Church, cherubs, polished wood. A mostly empty space, calm yet from these symbols we do not receive comfort but a jolt as we read lines spoken by the demon in The Exorcist (1973)

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

Do you know what she did, your cunting daughter?

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

I was lucky to meet Imogen Stidworthy as a visiting tutor at the RCA. I had a very inspiring tutorial with her which really helped me make decisions about my final show. She was showing some very moving work at the Imperial War Museum – a sculptural sound installation developed through interviewing two former British soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the wife of one of the soldiers, who lives with the effects of war at home.

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

She uses the voice as a sculptural material, engrained with traces of experience and transmits these voices through objects associated with conflict, exploring memory and the difficulty of communicating traumatic experience. We feel we are eavesdropping on a private perhaps internal conversation; echoing through the layered voices is each persons isolating pain.

It seemed appropriate for me to go and see Finding Paradise at Lacey Contemporary as this was the title of my dissertation.

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The gallery was vibrant with paintings of lush landscapes, forgotten pasts, and the ever-changing patterns of nature by Gemma Billington, Orlanda Broom and Ylva Kunze.

We can never inhabit paradise for more than a fleeting moment. It can be glimpsed on the edges of our vision and drive our passions but to find paradise is to experience ecstasy and a perpetuity of heightened bliss would actually be torturous to endure. Its power and attraction lies in its being momentary.

These fleeting moments and sensations which are not fully understood because they are only briefly glimpsed or experienced are what inspires the work of Malina Busch who explores material possibilities looking for traces of memory.

Malina Busch Curl Up

Malina Busch Curl Up

There was a political edge to this years Venice Biennale with the theme All The World’s Futures.

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It added a serious undercurrent to a lot of work which drew on documentary and news footage. Apart from Sean Lynch representing Ireland I didn’t have a list of must sees this year. At the last Biennale so many of my favourite people were showing, this was a chance to come across new names.

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I was keen to see what Sean Lynch would present as I had enjoyed meeting him during his workshop at Flat Time House and really like the way he works.

Sean Lynch

Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

His installation Adventure:Capital encompasses his interests in stone carving and storytelling. He manages to pull mythology into London’s contemporary financial district. A narrated video sweeps through history from the pits and quarries to the monuments and symbols of power that are made from the stones pulled from the earth.

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Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

This inversion of material is dusted with magic as the narrator traces the polished stone of the corporate world back to the rocks of prehistory.

The gods, swollen with symbolism are everywhere, causing havoc with their greed, gluttony, fertility and abundance.

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Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

There was striking work in the Nordic Pavillion by Camille Norment.

In Rapture eerie sounds emanate from a thrusting bank of speakers on the ceiling.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The large empty space is skewed with shattered billboard sized glass windows. It looks like the aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster and holds you in the moment when the ringing in your ears could be shockwaves of an explosion that segue into the voices of angels heralding the appearance of the saviour.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The sounds could be coming from the fragmented glass as they have that quality of a finger across a wet goblet rim. It is at the pitch of angels and voices do join the chorus. In fact Norment has used a glass armonica to compose this soundscape, an 18th century instrument that creates ethereal music from glass and water and was invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The glass armonica was used to cure many ailments with its entrancing sounds but was later banned for fear it aroused sexual excitement in women bringing them to a state of rapture that might overstimulate and ultimately kill them.