Archives for posts with tag: Aóratos

Work in progress on the Azimuth Obelisk sculpture has taken a new direction and I have abandoned the idea of casting the obelisk in aerated concrete. I also have new dimensions to work with having found an interesting article on the historic dimensions of obelisks with the advice that ‘designs that have too large a gap in scaling between elements will lack hierarchical cooperation and lead to a sense of emotional unrest‘.

Looking at layering of sedimentary rock holding memory of magnetic field information I am aiming to make the sculpture from layered paper to echo the effect of strata, using unwanted old work on paper as well as other paper that would otherwise be discarded. It has been satisfying tearing down old prints that were languishing in plan chests and old work from foundation courses and art classes. It even has an obelisk within the obelisk. I am collecting donations from everyone I know who works with paper as I have estimated I need about 8,000 sheets to reach a height of over 2m.

Work in progress on The Breath of Stars cosmic ray interactive work is still pending. After spending hours formatting and loading the raspberry pi with the video files of cosmic trail starbursts I heard from Jamie the programmer that .avi files are not going to work and these might need converting to WebM files which might not be easy. Hoping to find a solution to this soon.

Great fun greenscreen filming slime for Belly of a Rock – a video sculpture partly inspired by the Cosmicomics story The Spiral and partly inspired by paleomagnetism where magnetic minerals in rocks can archive a record of the direction and intensity of the magnetic field when they form.

“I began to give off excretions which took on a curving shape all around” The Spiral, Italo Calvino

“..I accompanied the effort of making the shell with the effort of thinking I was making something, that is anything: that is, I thought of all the things it would be possible to make. So it wasn’t even a monotonous task, because the effort of thinking which accompanied it spread towards countless types of thoughts which spread, each one, towards countless types of actions that might each serve to make countless things, and making each of these things was implicit in making the shell grow, turn after turn…” Italo Calvino The Spiral

Fabulous shells lent to me by my neighbour for spiralling inspiration. The size of them not easily appreciated in these images. They are huge. I have no idea how old the molluscs that made these could be.

Other work in progress is towards using the small monitors bought as a good deal on eBay set in a circle displaying video dissected into twelfths. Testing ideas with kaleidoscopic images from soap bubble videos and relying on technical help from next door getting the monitors to work

Delighted to be invited to join Sandra Crisp and Jockel Liess for an exciting moving image event. Each artist has a unique approach to film incorporating the study of form, surface and location. DM for an invitation.

Sandra Crisp: E_Life uses 3D generated animation to present a digital environment populated with intensely textured and dynamic geometry.

Jockel Liess: Variations on a theme is a generative audiovisual system which starts from a point of fascination with the aesthetics of irregular organic patterns.

My work Aóratos (new edit for this event) transports the viewer between everyday locations and terrains visually transformed via the use of an endoscope, a microscope, and cameras launched in a high-altitude balloon.

Paused to see the wonderful World Time Linear Clock at Piccadilly Circus Underground Station built in the early1920s and recently refurbished.

The band of roman numerals scrolls West at the same relative speed as the earth rotates, completing a circuit in 24 hours.

“The clock by which we measure time on our watches and digital devices is very misleading; it is determined by the daily rotation of the Earth around its axis and its annual rotation around the sun. This astronomical time is linear and regular. But the actual clock by which we live our socioeconomic lives is an emergent phenomenon determined by the collective forces of social interaction: it is continually and systematically speeding up relative to objective astronomical time.”    Geoffrey West

I also did a little research to find out more about the Azimuth Mirror I was given as a present. An azimuth mirror is used for taking the bearings of terrestrial and celestial objects. An azimuth is defined, from any given observation point, as the angle between an object or point and a reference line, usually to true North, moving away from that reference line in a clockwise direction on a horizontal plane. Through the use of mirrors, lenses and prisms, the instrument allows both, the readings of the compass card, and the object to be seen at the same time and in the same direction. It is portable equipment which is placed over a magnetic or gyro compass to aid navigation using either a landmark, when the arrows would be pointed down, or from a celestial object when the arrow would be pointed up. The little glass circle was once a spirit level but that has dried up. The word azimuth is used in all European languages today, it originates from medieval Arabic meaning “the directions”.

Finally made it to meet the Go Stargazing Walton Astronomy Group at their monthly session. We found them on the green at Esher which has been recently over illuminated with bright LED streetlights by a thoughtless council ruining the skies for astronomical observation and disorientating local wildlife and plant life. The local MP Dominic Raab IS NOT A MEMBER of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies. Click on the link and ask your MP to join in protecting our dark skies.

When we look up to the heavens, we largely see the same view that captivated and inspired our ancestors. The constellations, the Milky Way, shooting stars, and the night sky are woven into the fabric of our society, cultures and religions. The night sky is one of the most inspirational views that our planet offers.

We are on the precipice of losing the night sky. Right now, SpaceX and other companies are planning to launch tens of thousands of bright satellites in orbit around the Earth.

There is an Avaaz petition at this link urging protection of the night skies.

Bringing back memories of the 2015 Nelly Ben Hayoun film Disaster Playground

….NASA celebrates a Smashing Success – A team of researchers confirmed that the DART spacecraft’s impact with Dimorphos successfully altered the moonlet’s orbit around its parent asteroid by 32 minutes – marking the first time humans have changed the trajectory of a celestial object in space.

To me this feels like a major historical event. What has this little nudge set in motion?

Exhibition visits

Expanded film at the BFI London Film festival.

Framerate: Pulse of the Earth by ScanLAB Projects presents Destruction, extraction, habitation, construction, harvests, growth and erosion are presented as a shared immersive experience. The 3D time-lapse scans of British landscapes observe change on a scale impossible to see with traditional filmmaking techniques.

One of my favourites was Monoliths by Lucy Hammond, Hannah Davies, Asma Elbadawi and Carmen Marcus – we are shaped by the spaces that made us. Through footage shot in the north of England and personal narrative the women embody three monoliths – standing stones, whose symbolic power becomes increasingly important as the women talk.

Elizabeth Murton and Jane Glynn, explore the dynamics of time and movement in Fluid Time at The WaterMill, Mill Green Museum, Hatfield with live dance performance of Elizabeth Murton’s The Giant Weave from BEEE Creative full of joy and energy.

Libby Heaney in remiQXing still at Fiumano Clase. A solo presentation of video and physical works exploring the emerging field of quantum computing as both a subject and medium, turning the gallery space into the showroom of her fictional quantum computing company QX (Quantum eXperience). Some fabulous super shiny prints on mirrored dibond and ethereal prints direct to media on clear acrylic.

Transports of Delight at Danielle Arnaud curated by Edward Chell. In the 1830s, East London doctor and amateur naturalist Dr Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward invented a sealed glass case, an ecosphere in which plants could survive heavily polluted air. Named after its inventor the Wardian case enabled the transport of plants by sea around the world and transformed global economies and environments, shaping the world we live in. Exhibition includes works by

Anna Barriball | Daphne Wright | David Cotterrell | Edward Chell | Gerard Ortín Castellví | Günther Herbst | Harun Morrison | Helen Maurer | Joseph Banks | Joy Gregory | Laure Prouvost | Lee Maelzer | Leelou Gordon-Fox | Maria Thereza Alves | Mariele Neudecker | Nick Laessing | Nils Norman | Owen Griffiths | Peter Hofer | Pia Östlund | Rosa Nguyen | Stephen Lee | Uriel Orlow |

ABSURD at OHSH Projects exploring the absurdity and strange rituals of our daily lives, the bizarreness of
which are brought to light when taken out of context. The institutions, structures and traditions we have built around ourselves and imbued with power and importance can highlight this most starkly; through religion, schooling, government, work and even our own homes. Curated by Henry Hussey and Sophia Olver. Exhibition includes works by Gillies Adamson Semple, Samuel Bassett, Jonny Briggs, Tom Bull, Ladina Clement, Janina Frye, Johnny Hogland, Mark Jackson, Lea Rose Kara, James Lomax, Hynek Martinec, Rasmus Nosstring and Lottie Stoddart.

Hypha Studios presents a showcase of some previously selected artists at the project space on Conduit Street. Hypha Studios matches artists with empty spaces across the UK. Artworks include those by Beverley Duckworth, Foka Wolf, Dion Kitson, Futures After and Josh Wright’s “Lost in a Just In time Supply Chain”, Anna Fearon, Tom Skipp, Molly Stredwick, Gabriela Pelczarska, Salvatore Pione.

Subatomic at The Science Gallery is a project by composer Christo Squier and experimental particle physicist Dr. Teppei Katori that looks at ways of interacting with cosmic rays, something I have been working on myself in the work The Breath of Stars for the last year or so. I was equally excited and anxious to see what they were presenting. They have created a particle shrine which takes data from the Super-Kamiokande observatory in Japan as well as live data from cosmic ray detectors to create a light and sound experience with vibrating mirrors. Rather jealous of the technical resources this project had access to.

There was also a performance of live music by a small orchestra responding in real time to data from the Super-Kamiokande observatory and compositions inspired by cosmic ray observation data.

A lot of the data used in the music responses and the particle shrine is publicly available data from the Super-Kamiokande observatory in Japan. I did notice that the cosmic watch detectors hooked up to the particle shrine are not set in coincidence mode to be sure it is cosmic particles that are being recorded. A lot of what Christo said during his presentation echoed how I feel about cosmic rays, the fact that they come from other galaxies and pass through us making that physical connection with outer space.

Sanctuary at The Swiss Church takes inspiration from the disparate and striking surrounding architecture, and the stories of people within the Covent Garden community, artists Ali Clarke and Gary Scholes have created a series of structures that symbolise individual sanctuaries. Amazing detail in some of the constructions, especially impressed with the scaffolding bolts.

Reading

Came across some great finds at the local Oxfam bookshop on mapping and magnetism and time, all interconnected.

I read Conquest of the Useless as I thought it might be relevant to research on exploration of the unknown. It was definitely a worthwhile read portraying the total dedication to following through a dream, the power of the creative urge. Watched the film Fitzcarraldo afterwards which although extraordinary doesn’t convey the true life drama and hardship recorded in the book experienced by the actors and film crew in telling the story.

Listening

BBC Radio 4 In our Time – The Earth’s Core. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Earth’s solid inner core and liquid outer core, their structures and their impact on life on Earth.

Midsummer weekend at Allenheads Contemporary Arts. As always it was fantastic to be back in the North Pennines surrounded by the unique landscape and equally unique participating artists. Thank you to Helen Ratcliffe, Alan Smith and co-curator Rob La Frenais for creating such a stimulating event and inviting me to be part of it. Continuum contemplated shared futures and journeys; explorations of the unknown on a cosmological and human scale.

I was privileged to be given access to use the local Blacksmith’s Shop heritage site for Aóratos a site specific installation with fire and film.

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It is not impossible that wormholes exist in our universe.

To traverse space by means of a wormhole would require vast amounts of negative energy.

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Visitors were invited to burn offerings of negative energy to power a ‘wormhole’.

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Using specially prepared tokens visitors could write or draw messages to clear their subconscious of any negative or unwelcome thoughts.

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The offerings were burnt giving out blue and green flames in the forge fire releasing the absorbed negative energy to open the wormhole portal above.

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This turned out to be quite a personal and sometimes emotional experience for visitors who thought carefully about what they would send into the flames before ascending the stairs to enter the portal to the vortex and take the journey through the wormhole exiting at a different point to where they entered.

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Beyond the threshold hidden landscapes and alternative perspectives were revealed.

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It is hoped visitors left the wormhole video installation feeling cleansed and positively charged.

There was a wonderful enthusiastic crowd from Newcastle’s refugee community travelling with artist Henna Asikainen – ” Understanding what it means to be displaced from ones cultural, social and ecological environment and then to establish a home in another, which is fundamentally different, has been the basis for the emergence of my recent projects.”

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Henna shared a practice from her own Finnish culture through her participatory work Omens  – a divining practice from ancient times involving melting metal over an open fire and pouring it into cold water and then interpreting the resulting form. The interaction of metal and water being symbolic of different cultures coming together, making new forms, interpreting the outcomes together, and by sharing these hopes & fears, generating a dialogue about our common futures.

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Annie Carpenter and Alan Smith collaborated on Salvaged Alignment a sculpture activated by the sun at the exact moment of the solstice.

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Annie was also showing Perpetual Apogee  a sculpture referencing Victorian kinetic models of the solar system embracing inaccuracies inherent in such scientific modeling.

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Alan Smith was screening his film 2052 looking at the everyday 33 years from now.

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In the gallery Robert Good presented A New Atlas of the Sublime, a series of panels dissecting the hierarchies and subtleties of language used when attempting to describe the power of a sublime experience.

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Nicola Ellis, referencing algorithms and scientific technologies used in social media, gave visitors an uncanny experience in Watch Yourself Watch Yourself

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Sarah Fortais performing Voyager in her DIY spacesuit arrived from afar, by public transport, to explore the local neighbourhood of Allenheads through the eyes of an alien with accompanying space dog Maddy.

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Great to meet up with Pippa Goldschmidt again and hear more readings from her short stories inspired by past roles as astronomer and civil servant on The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space.

 

Tracey Warr and Rob La Frenais Writing The Future workshop posted story portals around the village for visitors to discover.

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Much celebration at the launch of Lucien Anderson’s Humble Telescope on the cosmic pond. Come the dark skies of Allenheads, lay back and gaze up through the portal from a watery bed.

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As the solstice sun dipped John Bowers, Tim Shaw, Rob Blazey, Malcolm Conchie and Alan Smith began the annual Midsummer Night’s Drone that continued through to sunrise.

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Aóratos imagery took reference from theories of cosmic strings, space foam and the idea of a web of tiny wormholes connecting all points in space. Video was captured by putting an endoscope down rabbit holes looking for hidden root systems and a microscope was pushed into fibres and foam. The bare branches of trees reflect the branching decay of cosmic particles as they hit the atmosphere and break up.

Space travelers are subject to high levels of radiation from cosmic ray activity outside the protective magnetic field and atmosphere of Earth. As part of this project I worked with students Sena Harayama, Romain Clement De Givry and Medad Newman from Imperial College Space Society supervised by senior lecturer in spacecraft engineering Dr Aaron Knoll in an attempt to launch a cloud chamber in the payload of a high altitude balloon to view this activity.

The students had put a lot of effort into building a cloud chamber suitable to launch over 30km high into subzero temperatures with little air pressure.

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The final launch date pre-booked with the Civil Aviation Authority was upon us and so with just three days notice the team decided it must go ahead ready or not. Unfortunately the chamber had not been tested to see if it functioned on earth and during final assembly on the evening before the launch the chamber shattered.  Disappointed, the students worked into the night to make a substitute chamber.

I had been charged with making a connector out of garden hose, plumbers waste pipe, foam and sealant to pass helium from narrow cylinder pipe to wide mouth of balloon.

The launch took place on disused Oakley airfield kindly permitted by landowner Tom Baxter.

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The balloon reached an altitude of over 37 km and the payload was successfully recovered from a field of horses near Silverstone after an exciting car chase.

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During the violent launch the camera inside the payload to capture activity in the cloud chamber was knocked aside.

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All we have is a short clip before darkness descends and the experiment becomes part of that which is unseen.
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Risograph leaflet for visitors to the wormhole installation, expertly printed by Elliott Denny.

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In the Studio

Put The Forms (aluminium etched with dark matter visualisations) up for Open Studios at Thames-side Studios annual event which was buzzing this year with lots of workshops and activities and a festival feel flurry of food stalls.

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Meanwhile I was creating vibrant chemical landscapes ready to be encapsulated in screen printed tokens for the burning ritual to power the wormhole.

 

Out of the Studio

Carol Wyss hoping for rain to activate her enigmatic steel plates and reveal the codes within the bones in Coming Good: Come Hell or High Water an exhibition in St Johns Churchyard as part of Transforming Being Waterloo Festival.

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