Archives for posts with tag: Asif Khan

Back to etching. Have completed an intro/induction at Thames Barrier Print Studio so am now good to go with new work. 1603 aluminium plateTried aluminium in saline sulphate which gives a really deep etch. Used stop out and painting into hot hard ground. Was good to play around with new materials and get some tips from resident expert etcher Nick Richards. 1603 stop out

This primer from Wilkinsons is cheap and works well as a stop out solution. The etchings I had done before were all on steel with soft ground, I love the deep rich tones from steel but am trying a new piece of work on zinc with hard ground with should give me a more precise line.

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This work is inspired by the idea of gravitational waves and grains of space which is one of the lessons in Carlo Rovelli’s book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. It’s taking a while to cover the plate in the dots. I’m not sure when it’s all done if the wave pattern will disappear.

 

Michael Doser’s keynote paper Seeing Antimatter Disappear at the symposium Shadow Without Object  gave an insight into how the study of gravity acting on antimatter may help explain why it has disappeared. As a research physicist at CERN he is engaged is trying to discover why there is not the same amount of antimatter as matter in the universe and why what little there is remains clumped at the centre of our milky way galaxy. I asked him if antimatter was considered part of the 5% of the visible world of matter and I think he said that it was as it interacts with photons and fundamental forces.

1603 Michael Doser

Although gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces its impact on the parabolic flight of anti-hydrogen atoms can be witnessed by using emulsion on a photographic plate which records the particle collision. Using photographic emulsion gives a far more accurate and sensitive result than any digital recording device could.

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He said some confounding things – that antimatter emits light exactly like normal matter so you can photograph it but you only see it when it annihilates. So we don’t actually see the antiprotons just the trace of the aftermath of their disappearance left in the photo emulsion on the plate. Working at quantum scales the collision of the proton into the emulsion is digitally scanned and a 3d image stacked up to reveal a starburst. The starburst is the locus of disappearance.

Cosmic rays coming from remote stars hit our atmosphere and produce showers of particles that plough through our bodies – these can be seen using cloud chambers which are detectors that track the particles. The unseen activity of the universe made visible. This is something I am hoping to see when we visit the underground laboratories at Boulby.

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At the talk Are We Darkened by the Light? at Tate Modern architect Asif Khan had brought along a sample of the darkest material on earth – a Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array. This material was made as a reference for noise images which aim to establish what black should be when looking at a camera chip to remove interference. This material is so black because it absorbs all the photons of light rather than bouncing some back to our eyes.

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I wonder if all the photons stay in this material when they are absorbed. Does it fill up with photons?  Does it get hot in there?  Planck’s constant states every hot object emits light, how does that fit in?

Also at Tate Modern was In/Visibility a work by Vinita Khanna that uses a polarising filter to conceal and reveal the colours in a copy of Gustav Klimt’s painting Portrait of Frau Adele Bloch Bauer.

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Vinita Khanna In/Visibility

Choosing an image that we are all familiar with, yet most of us have never seen the original, Vinita Khanna comments on the intangible nature of vision demonstrating the invisible made visible. Humans treat their vision as absolute, when in fact the bulk of our perceived reality is generated by our brains.

1603 Clare Muireann Murphy

Clare Muireann Murphy is a brilliant story teller. She was performing her new work Universe at The Crick Crack Club event upstairs at Soho Theatre. Colliding the science of the big bang (cracking of the cosmic egg) with mythical tales of a goddess tumbling from the skies into a watery world to be rescued by a fearless turtle who then gets turned into a magical lyre that plays the music of the cosmos passing from god to mortal. Clare creates a place of wonder and insight where time stretches and a fissure opens that builds a dream bridge between many worlds…

1601 Repetition Variation

Julian Page presented a group show at Clerkenwell Gallery with a strong sense of the material world. Layers, grids, clusters, networks and stacks – great pictures here:  Repetition Variation.  Having watched the steady growth of Stack while sharing a studio space with Amy Gear at the RCA I have a great affection for this piece.

Stack is an encounter with mass.

Repetition celebrates editions in the print fest Multiplied at Christies. A jostle of galleries showing their wares. The RCA gets a stand showcasing alumni with recent graduates. I had one sculpture from everydaymatters showing. It looks obvious in this picture but it was surprising how people just didn’t see it. It was about the only work not on the wall and when the room was packed it disappeared in the crowd. Invisible matter.1602 RCA  mulltipliedI was pleased to have two variable editions of Paradise Road sw4 shown by Dark Matter Studio in a grouping with work by Zoe Dorelli, Mary Yacoob, Marianne Walker and Patrick Jackson – The Inner City Pilgrims. A new collaborative project I am involved with whose aim is to re-mystify the city.

1602 Dark Matter at Multiplied

Katharina Grosse has been interrogating space in relation to her paintings such as  ‘Untitled Trumpet’ which have expanded to the point that you can walk through them.

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Katharina Grosse Untitled  (Trumpet)

From the experience of having a painting transferred from canvas to silk she was inspired by the folds in the fabric. Folds in space.

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Katharina Grosse Untitled (Trumpet)

A fold in space could theoretically, allow a short cut from one place to another.

1601 wormholeA wormhole has two mouths and a throat. For travel to be possible, wormholes would need to be full of exotic matter, that is to say a non-baryonic matter like dark matter i.e. not made of the stuff we are made of. It is as yet another unknown.

How we move through space and interact with the architecture that surrounds us was explored in Mimesis  at Westminster Reference Library.

“Mimesis produces mere ‘phantoms’, not real things. It is at once dependent and deluded, just as a mirror is empty and inessential without something to reflect.” – Matthew Potolsky

1602 Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow and Evy Jokhova have been considering how image and architectural form influence the way we read our world; how cognition can cloud and clarify and how association can attack an image or experience, or stand apart, apparently neutral and transparent.

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Evy Jokhova

Mimesis created an unstable environment of wobbly furniture, erased images and material associations where the chalky surface of architectural columns turn out to be constructed from Brie.

This is the playful mimic undermining the authority of grand architecture and opening a space to question our surroundings by subverting expectations of form.

I was introduced to the beautiful work of Ben Cove at Multiplied and then visited his exhibition Modern Language at Peter Von Kant Gallery.

Architectural devices are made symbols. Flat surfaces deceive the eye with shadow and form. Clean, sharp colours zing against black and white images drawing the eye backward and forward shifting us in space and in time. It’s a dynamic experience. Having read a lot lately about how there is no empty space, there is no void, I can feel here that all space is packed with information and all is connected through space time.

For her archaeological installation Wrong Way Time in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Fiona Hall filled the room with an ecology of objects that tell the story of civilization from primal beliefs in magic and animism through capitalism, global economic collapse and climate change leaving us with the challenge of facing the end of anthropocentrism.

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Fiona Hall

She trusts in our sense of wonder and imagination that can see life forms in sculpted drift wood to see a world not of exploitation but of symbiosis.

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Fiona Hall

In the French Pavilion Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s work also activated primal beliefs that animals, plants, and inanimate objects possess a spiritual essence. In transHUmUs an arboreal dance reintroduces us to a latent anthropomorphism. The trees glide around directed by their own metabolism with their truncated roots exposed on their islands of dirt, like isolated protesters quietly demonstrating.

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Celeste Boursier-Mougenot transHUmUS

In the beginning…the word became flesh. The vertical-transcendent dimension of the Logos – the word of God from above and the horizontal-immanent dimension of the flesh below were the axes of research put forward by the Holy See as participant in the Venice Biennale 2105.  Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva created ‘Haruspex’ in this context.

1602 Venice Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Haruspex

Using the raw flesh of pig’s caul, sheep’s intestine and cow’s stomach she weaves a canopy, an enclosure, a net, a trap, a sanctuary. It’s meaning oscillates as does the beauty and horror of its materiality. We must read the omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals.

Pamela Rosenkranz questions what it means to be human in a digital age. The anthropocentric bias of humanism is challenged when subject and object are impossible to separate. Our physical and psychic being is undergoing a transformation by the new materials that we wear, inject, subsume.

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Pamela Rosenkranz Simulation

The glowing wet body of synthetic liquid designed to replicate a particular skin colour floods the Swiss Pavilion with a sickly sweetness that has a back flavour of the murder victim’s chemical bath.

 

 

 

 

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.