Archives for posts with tag: light years

Radio waves and television signals can pierce the ionosphere and travel through space at the speed of light. HD 70642 is a star similar to our sun with a large companion planet that orbits in a circular motion very similar to how the planets orbit here in our solar system.  This means it is possible there maybe Earth-type planets orbiting further in. This star is in the constellation of Puppis about 90 light years away. Early signals from Earth will just be reaching this distant solar system with a potential Earth like planet. The time it has taken the signals to reach this home from home roughly the same as my Mother’s lifetime on Earth.

Final assembly of this work 92 Light Years

Early TV signals were transmitted in a series of 30 lines to complete one image called a raster pattern.

It is a systematic process of covering an area progressively, similar to how one’s gaze travels when reading lines of text. The signal is sent in fragments and must be interpreted on arrival to make sense of the message.

The folded sections in this work emulate the raster pattern and are made from a combination of screen print on textile, dye sublimation print using images from the 1930’s and chinagraph pencil marking out the star chart – a bit like a lenticular image – you see the stars from one side and the fragmented signal from the other.

There is a possibility humans retain some residual magnetoreceptor in our eyes that once enabled us to navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field just as birds and other animals do. The steel etching plate I have been working on has had an aquatint added and I have made a couple of test prints.

I have done some quick tests with large circle magnets and iron filings pulled across the printed etching of my iris. The effect is quite magical.

I have also tried using magnetic sheet cut to specific shapes. I was pleased that it held the iron filings but it is quite a weak force so the filings don’t stand up like they do with a stronger magnet.

Forest of Eden in Memento Mori at AIR Gallery showcasing the macabre, the grotesque and surreal works of 27 artists from around the world.​ Translated as ‘Remember Death’; the exhibition sets to remind the viewer of their own fragile mortality whilst also providing a poignant commentary on the art world perceptions of beauty and aesthetics. We are always drawn to works that are appealing to the eye, but what happens when we are confronted with uncomfortable depictions of modern life or something visually grotesque? What makes the unappealing difficult to digest but impossible to turn away from?​

The exhibition features a range of Paintings, sculptures, and fine art from artists that highlight the disturbing beauty and curious attraction to the dark and unsettling. Although there are elements that remind us of the inevitability of death, there is dark humour, and elements that also highlight the affirmation of life with each artist presenting new ways for us to reflect on our own mortal state of being.​

The myth of the wild man stretches back to the tale of Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality.  In history the wild man’s characteristics oscillate between horror and fantasy. They reflect fear of the other as well as aspirations to be at one with nature often violating the taboos of civilization and symbolizing the repressed desires of society. This person who posts photos of himself in charged poses has become an internet meme shared with equal disgust and fascination. In this etching he is placed back in the ancient forest of all our origins.

Listened in to Laurie Anderson’s fourth Norton Lecture, The Road with Q&A led by Adam Curtis. The discussion ranged across notions of reality, things that remain invisible in that we can’t get at them like nuclear science and big finance so it’s hard to make sense of the world. In the past the invisible things were god and heaven. Now we strive to make ourselves visible, to be a product of yourself. What can we replace the Avant Garde with?

Out of the studio

A treat to bump into WeiXin Quek Chong with A.I. Gallery at Cromwell Place for her solo show deepdreams_sublimed

A dive into a haptic materiality of tantalizing tactile surfaces.

A solo exhibition by artist WeiXin Quek Chong bringing together sculpture, video, print as well as installation exploring the theme of tactility through sound and material with underlying references to historical & cultural figures and elements.

Reflection Curated by Alexander Hinks at The Cello Factory with artists Christina Augustesen, Paul Bonomini, Sibéal Colley, Alison Goodyear, Fiona Grady, Susan Gunn, Susan Haire, Alexandra Harley, Alexander Hinks, Judith Jones, Anna Lytridou, Genetic Moo, Sirpa Pajunen-Moghissi, Simon Pike, Sumi Perera, Michael Petry, Charley Peters, Anna Reading, Paul Tecklenberg, Chris Wood, Andrea V Wright.

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.”   John Berger, Ways of Seeing 

New iteration of Without Horizon Without Shore from Geographies of Print artists Victoria Arney, Carol Wyss and Victoria Ahrens at The Stone Space

Expanding the territories of print while crossing geological and metaphorical borders of lived landscapes.

‘Without Horizon, Without Shore offers a contemplative view of the organic threads that connect us – giving voice to our encounter with the intrinsic fluidity and melody of the landscapes we inhabit, external and internal. These are depictions and sounds beyond visible shores, static horizons. These fragments and mineral particles retain indelible marks that serve to capture a haptic sense of ourselves, touching, quite literally – on the liminal spaces or connective threads that bind us. In a shifting landscape both metaphorical and actual, these ephemeral traces of our physical experiences compel us to find new ways to embody them.’

Kate Fahey solo show Blubbing at Commonage Projects

Suitably unsettling for All Hallows weekend visit these sculptures ooze an almost tangible animated spirit, something has been captured here and collectively they own the space you have entered.

In the subterranean space, Fahey’s installation explores the fluidity and underneath-ness of both membranes and sensations. The architecture mimics corporeality, becoming permeable: leaking, seeping, oozing, dripping, weeping…experiments in viscous physicality. Biomorphic forms twist and coil, we are mirrored in their tendrilous movements. A knitted conduit, that both amplifies and muffles, slinks towards us, our bodies might bend to share an interaction. The coolness of a contorting pipe and the looping of digital technologies are softened and warmed with biology.’

When cosmic rays smash into the nuclei of gases high up in the atmosphere a variety of secondary particles are created but the only ones typically long-lived enough to make it to the Earth’s surface are muons. Muons are heavy electrons with a lifetime of 2.2 millionth of a second before they decay into an electron and a neutrino. Muons are typically produced around 15 km up in the atmosphere, a distance which takes around 50 millionths of a second to cross at the speed of light. This is over 20 muon lifetimes so they shouldn’t be able to get to Earth’s surface before they decay. However, since they are travelling approximately 98% the speed of light, time in their frame of reference is significantly stretched relative to time we experience on Earth. This means that they can travel much further in a shorter period so many Muons do make it to the surface. Special relativity is mind boggling.

Particles that arrive on Earth can cause computer processor bits to flip from one to zero or zero to one. The larger the computer is and the higher the altitude where it operates the more data corruption can occur. There are procedures to enable high altitude supercomputers like those at Los Alamos National Laboratory, birthplace of the atomic bomb, to detect when a bit is flipped and raise an alarm to force a crash and system reset. The big problem is silent corruption that neither the computer or human notices that could occur in sensitive data such as nuclear weapons stewardship and modelling for national security, space exploration, climate change, disease transmission, new drug trials etc.

This is all research and stills from my video commission Cosmic Chiasmus for Queen’s Hall Digital which will be going live soon.

Further work on sculptural piece 90 light years home joining all the individual tiles to make raster patterns of fragmented data transmissions. Made from a combination of screen print on textile, dye sublimation print and chinagraph pencil.

These are scrambled messages to outer space. This work is based on the raster patterns of the first TV signals when images were transmitted in a series of lines. It is a systematic process of covering an area progressively, one line at a time. It is similar to how one’s gaze travels when one reads lines of text. 

HD 70642 is a star about 90 light years away. It has roughly the same mass and radius as our sun. It has a companion planet that orbits in a circular motion very similar to how the planets orbit in our solar system. Waves like FM radio or television signals can pierce the ionosphere and travel through space at the speed of light. The first radio and TV signals from Earth will be reaching this solar system about now.

The work for my planned cosmic ray detector interactive artwork is still at the sourcing components stage. I am gradually gathering many small packages containing mysterious miniscule parts with worrying warning labels. No mention of the handling precautions in the HOW TO video! Also certain items seem to be difficult to get hold of at the moment with shipping dates set to next spring.

I have sent off for the custom printed circuit boards from China with fingers heavily crossed.

The detector works on the basis that when a charged particle passes through a scintillating material, part of its energy is absorbed and re-emitted as photons. A light sensitive device called a silicon photo-multiplier (SiPM) coupled to the scintillator observes these photons. A single photon can make a measurable signal in the SiPM and can be amplified to shape the signal in such a way that it can measure both how many photons were observed and at what time they arrived using an Arduino Nano. I am hoping to divert that signal to set off a script controlling a layering of on screen images which generatively decay as each cosmic ray pulse is recorded.

In 2019 for the exhibition Reading Stones I created the site specific installation Time Crystals in the ancient St. Augustine’s Tower in Hackney. The nature of time itself was a concept that St Augustine of Hippo grappled with in his philosophical texts sixteen centuries ago and is still perplexing us today; namely, how to equate the subjective experience of time with an objective understanding.

In the news recently is the actual realisation of time crystals, a wholly new phase of matter to add to solids, liquids, gases and plasma that we are familiar with. Solid crystal structures repeat patterns across space whereas time crystal patterns repeat over time. Google researchers in collaboration with physicists at other universities have used Google’s quantum computer to produce this special phase of matter that changes constantly between states, but doesn’t appear to use any energy. All other known phases of matter are in thermal equilibrium meaning their their properties don’t change with time if the temperature is constant and settle into a low energy ambient state. Electronic computers use the binary system of 1s and 0s, on or off to process data. In a quantum computer, quantum bits have more possible states than just on and off adding uncertainty to outcomes. Qubits are unstable, acting differently when they’re under observation but time crystals remain stable while constantly flipping states and may be a huge breakthrough for complex computing and data modelling.

Pleased to announce work has finally been installed through Dais Contemporary at the impressive new Taj St James Court Hotel. Two screen print pieces from the everydaymatters series which are informed by the percentages of visible matter, dark matter and dark energy in the universe, and C-type on aluminium Pairi Daêza based around the refencing by Plato of the dodecahedron as the Aether holding the stars in the heavens. Dissecting landscapes to discover the hidden structures of the universe.

Expanding my etching skills with photopolymer process under the expert eye of J. Yuen Ling Chiu. It’s all in the inking up. Ling is such a great teacher.

Trying more new skills with a Super 8 workshop run by knowledgeable enthusiast Ben Slotover who packed a lot into one day. I really enjoyed trying the different cameras and the dreamlike spattered effects of the final films. Definitely something I want to try again though I think there will be lots to learn to achieve good results. I think it might work well to revisit my paradise works with this medium. The nostalgic ethereal quality appeals for this especially with the expired Kodak film as this needs to be flooded with light to work well.

Enjoyed the super/collider hosted zoom presentation Finding Asteroids with Dr Maggie Lieu research fellow in Machine Learning and Cosmology at the University of Nottingham. As of April 2021, there are over 25,000 near-Earth objects and many of these are a potential risk to life here on Earth, but in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, there is believed to be over 2 million asteroids, some of which can reach 1000km in size! Scientists are actively searching for new, and tracking known asteroids. Often, they won’t know for sure where an asteroid will hit or how big an impact it will make until a few days before the collision. Machine learning is being used to keep a look out for potentially hazardous asteroids heading towards Earth. Interesting to hear how cosmic rays interfere with the data searches for asteroids by mimicking the traces made by asteroids but at such a different scale.

I joined Aphra Shemza for her online digital painting and co-creating workshop. The workshop was great fun, centered around the shemza.digital project which is a collaboration with computer artist Stuart Batchelor. Shemza.digital is based on the work of Aphra’s grandfather, the well-known British/Pakistani painter Anwar Jalal Shemza. It was inspiring and at times shocking to hear the family history and his struggle for recognition against the racism of the institutions he came into contact with as a young art student at the Slade and beyond.


Rewarding visit to Night Shaking with The Ingram Collection at The Lightbox, Woking. A spinetingling collection of objects dredged from the subconscious on a Night Sea Journey accompanied by enlightening and poetic text

“On the ‘Night Sea Journey’, what we think we know is held up to be an illusion. Our minds cannot fully grasp the changes of consciousness that take place during this ordeal. Ego and persona are forced to give way. This difficult inner terrain holds within it a hidden potential to experience a dramatic transformation of consciousness”

Objects and paintings made by Chantal Powell and Dean Melbourne are brought together with chosen artefacts from The Ingram Collection as the artists draw us into the Dark Night of the Soul and the Night Sea Journey narrative.

Chantal talking here on the symbolism of crowns and boats in alchemy and transformation.