Archives for posts with tag: magnetism

It was such a pleasure to show with Sandra Crisp and Jockel Liess at Saturation Point. We were very pleased with how our films worked together in Projected Topographies and reflected out into the night skies of London.

Sandra Crisp: E_Life uses 3D generated animation, presenting intensely textured and dynamic geometry sequenced over time.

Multiple constantly transforming organic forms, each originating from a simple 3D sphere are mapped with eclectic visuals such as emojis, fragmented images borrowed from 24-hour online rolling-news media and others downloaded via a search engine. Particle systems generate repeated, yet varied objects throughout the film which appear to have a life of their own. Overall suggesting the possibility of a simulated future/ nature.

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.

Visually as well as sonically the aesthetic of natural patterns thrives on their intrinsic imperfection which are never distributed even or orderly, are never replications of themselves. They are rather reoccurring variations that form a recognisable tapestry of familiarity across an otherwise chaotic and unpredictable structure. Prospering from the tension that arises between repetition and asymmetry, and playfully inhabit the border region between order and randomness.

Susan Eyre: Aóratos transports the viewer between everyday locations and terrains visually transformed via use of an endoscope, a microscope,and cameras launched in a high altitude balloon.

It is not impossible that wormholes exist in our universe.

Aóratos imagines journeying through hidden landscapes, distorted spacetime and alternative perspectives. Envisaging potential encounters with cosmic strings, space foam, primordial chemistry, radioactive particles and escaping gravity the work conjectures on the enduring allure of traversing a wormhole.

Black holes were once thought to be pure science fiction but in recent decades scientists have discovered that these extraordinary objects exist throughout our universe in all shapes and sizes and  astoundingly have even produced images of them.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity written in 1915 predicted the existence of black holes and is also consistent with the possibility of gravitational tunnels known as wormholes. It could be that there is a hidden web of planck scale wormholes linking all points in space. Theoretically, threaded through these tiny holes would be filaments of cosmic strings created in the primitive goo of early matter and flung across space when the universe burst into existence.

To traverse space by means of a wormhole would require vast amounts of negative energy, not something usually found on Earth yet in the current political climate in no short supply.

The risks and obstacles of entering a wormhole include creating enough negative energy to open the wormhole mouth wide enough to weaken the gravitational tidal forces which would rip travellers apart; keeping it from collapsing so travellers are not indefinitely trapped inside; exceeding the speed of light and avoiding incineration from deadly high radiation.

The video work explores hidden landscapes, the distortion of space and the permeability of barriers such as force fields and human skin to the unseen particles that constantly teem at near light speed across the universe.

Edge of atmosphere footage was achieved with the help of Sena Harayama, Romain Clement De Givry and Medad Newman from Imperial College Space Society supervised by senior lecturer in spacecraft engineering Dr Aaron Knoll. We also had help from the UK High Altitude Society. My ambition was to film cosmic particles at the point where most of the activity of collisions takes place, about 15km up and so we launched a cloud chamber in the payload of a high-altitude balloon. Unfortunately the prepared chamber was broken the night before the launch and the replacement was not really adequate. Also due to a turbulent launch the camera inside the payload was knocked to one side so we were unable to film this cosmic activity but did get amazing footage above the clouds, gained a height of 35km and successfully retrieved the payload from a field of horses.

Space travellers can ‘see’ cosmic rays as they pass through the retina and cause the rods and cones to fire, triggering a flash of light that is really not there. The retina functions as a mini cloud chamber where the recording of a cosmic ray is displayed by a trail left in its wake.

Aóratos translates as ‘unseen’.

It was a real treat to be invited by Alan Smith and Helen Ratcliff for a short residency at Allenheads Contemporary Arts in Northumberland as part of the Being Human Festival – a celebration of humanities research through public engagement with North Pennines Observatory at Allenheads Contemporary Arts partnering with Durham University to present an evening of discussion and potential stargazing. After a few days of conversations, preparing presentations and meeting the other speakers we were looking forward to the event but unfortunately this was cancelled at the last minute due to flood warnings in the area. We are hoping it can be rescheduled.

While the weather was clear I headed to Allenheads village for a walk and called in at the Blacksmith’s forge where I had previously shown Aóratos as a site specific participatory installation.

I am appreciative of the dark skies in this location which feels like it is on top of the planet and therefore closer to the sky. I live in south west London so it is a real treat to be away from light pollution. While there, I was keen to make some time lapse film of the stars circling Polaris as research for work about the earth’s magnetic field and magnetoreception. Birds can see the magnetic field and use this extra sense as well as the sun, the moon and the stars to navigate on their migration routes. I am also speculating about the possibility for humans to sense the magnetic field

As the centuries go by, the North Celestial Pole shifts and different stars become the North Star. It takes about 25,800 years for the Earth’s axis to complete a single wobble. Polaris became the north star in about the fifth century and will get closer to straight above the Earth’s north pole until sometime in 2102. Before Polaris was the North Star it was Thuban and next up is Vega.

The skies were clear for a few hours when I first arrived at ACA so I was able to build a short star trail sequence but after that the fog and then the rain settled in.

When reading about the history of Hartland Magnetic Observatory, established in 1955, it mentions ‘A permanent distant mark or azimuth mark was erected on a concrete obelisk 7 or 8 feet high near the site’s northern boundary. Viewed through the window in the north wall of the Absolute Hut, its azimuth is 11º27’54” E of N. It is still in use today.’ I was intrigued that an obelisk should be used for the azimuth mark. I had hoped to see it on my research trip to Hartland but found it is currently inaccessible with just the tip protruding from dense undergrowth.

I am reimagining this object as a sculpture made from stacked recycled paper to appear stratified like the sedimentary rock that holds clues to the Earth’s magnetic field reversals and am working to the dimension ratios recommended to avoid emotional unrest.

Obelisk dimensions from “The Problem of Obelisks” catalogued by Egyptologist with the Cairo Museum Reginald Engelbach, 1923.

Before the Meridian Line was moved to Greenwich, London time was calculated from the King’s Observatory at Kew.
There are three obelisks in the Old Deer Park used as meridian marks to adjust the instruments at the Observatory built by George III to observe the transit of Venus in 1769.

As I plan to make the obelisk pyramidion in copper I signed up for the Sheet Copper Sculpture Worksop taught by Robert Worley at The London Sculpture Workshop. To begin we were shown how to beat out a bowl shape and apply a dark patina using chemicals and heat.

I was introduced to the plasma gun. Very satisfying cutting with the fourth state of matter. These shapes are based on the fluid fluctuations of the Earth’s geomagnetic field and I plan to use these on the north wall of The Absolute Hut sculpture in my show next year, tacked over moss with copper pins.

Magnetism is caused by the motion of electric charges. Electrons spinning around the nucleus in atoms generate an electric current and cause each electron to act like a tiny magnet. In most substances, equal numbers of electrons spin in opposite directions, which cancels out their magnetism. In iron, cobalt, and nickel, most of the electrons spin in the same direction which makes the atoms in these substances strongly magnetic. By rubbing a piece of iron along a magnet, the north-seeking poles of the atoms in the iron line up in the same direction creating a magnetic field and turning the iron into a magnet. A magnetic field can also be created by running electricity through a coil of wire, but the field will disappear when the electric current is turned off.

Work in progress on Breath of Stars (the cosmic ray detector interactive video) has been to convert all the .avi star burst video files to VP8.webm using Shutter Encoder software. Jamie, the programmer, has code working now to display video files with transparency so they can be layered.

Gallery Visits

Simon Leahy-Clark solo show FEED at Artworks Project Space. Painterly surfaces made from newspaper clippings have unexpected depth in palette, flow and cosmic imagery, considering the origin of each segment. Mesmerizing to study the forms like spotting patterns in the constellations. Really liked this work.

Caroline AreskogJones Tonight Rain, Tomorrow Mud at Filet Space with live sonic response from Oskar Jones incorporating field recordings gathered whilst walking in Andalucía and captured acoustics whilst making the drawings.

A thoughtfully crafted exhibition capturing the fragile landscape that turns to dust without water and mud when the rains come. The beautiful audio accompaniment from Oskar added to the meditative experience of being transported elsewhere while having time to focus of the works installed with a resonant delicacy.

Lisa Chang Lee showing HZ-0 at Enclave Projects Lake, a sensory device created in collaboration with James Wilkie that creates soundscapes responding to the void around it. Equipped with seven sensors measuring temperature, light, air pollution, sound etc data is fed into an algorithmic software based on the Lydian scale. I hadn’t heard of this scale but am interested to discover it’s connections to gravity and magnetism. The Lydian Chromatic Scale is the most complete expression of the total self-organized tonal gravity field with which all tones relate on the basis of their close to distant magnetism to a Lydian tonic. Tonal gravity is the heart of the Lydian Chromatic Concept. Simply put, the basic building block of tonal gravity is the interval of the perfect fifth. Every tone within Western music’s equal tempered tuning relates to every other tone by either being close to – or distant from – the center of gravity, which is the tonic (or “DO”) of the Lydian Scale. There are 3 states of tonal gravity: Vertical, Horizontal, and Supra-Vertical.

This is a fascinating work thinking about other ways to experience a space.

Hollow Earth: Art, Caves & The Subterranean Imaginary at Nottingham Contemporary.

Inspired by the hundreds of caves hand carved into the rock beneath the city of Nottingham this exhibition explores questions of thresholds, darkness and prehistory. ‘Every culture and religion has told stories about what lies beneath. Caves are where extraordinary events come to pass, the domain of gods and monsters, of births, burial and rebirth. Dark, dangerous and unstable, caves are places of visions and experiences both sacred and profane. More recently, they have become home to data farms, seed vaults and doomsday bunkers.’

Artists include: Hamed Abdalla, Lee Bontecou, Sofia Borges, Brassaï, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Steven Claydon, Matt Copson, Juan Downey, Chioma Ebinama, Mary Beth Edelson, Laura Emsley, Barry Flanagan, Ilana Halperin, Frank Heath, Ed Herring, Michael Ho, Hans Hollein, Peter Hujar, Athanasius Kircher, Alison Knowles, Antti Lovag, Goshka Macuga, René Magritte, Gordon Matta-Clark, Emma McCormick-Goodhart, Santu Mofokeng, Henry Moore, Nadar, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Pauline Oliveros, Lydia Ourahmane, Gordon Parks, Flora Parrott, Walter Pichler, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Liv Preston, Ben Rivers, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, N.H. Stubbing, Caragh Thuring, Kaari Upson, Jeff Wall, Aubrey Williams, Joseph Wright of Derby.

This was a research trip with Julie Hill towards our joint show next year. The geological resonates through both our work, for Julie through the deep chasms of geology echoing those occurring cosmologically and for myself in the generation of the geomagnetic field deep in the earth which emanates out, reaching into space.

EVERY CLOUD at Bruce Castle Museum.

Nine artists celebrate the life and work of the Namer of Clouds and Tottenham resident, Luke Howard (1772 – 1864) to mark the 250th Anniversary of his birth.

Artists include Tam Joseph, Andrew Miller, Doodleganger, Gabriela Schutz, Helen Currie, Kerry Duggan, Lisa-Marie Price, Mary Yacoob, Siân Dorman with a live cloud sculpture performance from Alexander Costello.

Tam Joseph gave a heartfelt speech about his discovery of Luke Howard from seeing a blue plaque with the citation ‘Namer of Clouds’ which to him spoke of first nation peoples connection to nature and piqued his curiosity to learn more about this poetic origin; the difficulty of painting clouds – never from a photograph – a cloud is never still and a photograph loses the inherent transience; and the shared passion for the shapes and patterns found in the ocean of air above our heads.

Reading

Some history of early speculation, experiments and discoveries of three men who respectively broke new ground in understanding the Earth’s magnetic field, measuring time mechanically and mapping the hidden strata of the Earth.

Latitude and The Magnetic Earth by Stephen Pumfrey. The story of William Gilbert (1544 – 1603), a radical new thinker who questioned the perceived Aristotelian philosophy of the day, developing his own theory of magnetic philosophy of the Earth. His book On the Magnet and Magnetic Bodies, and on the Great Magnet the Earth was published in 1600 in which he concluded that the Earth was itself magnetic.

The lines of latitude and longitude remain fixed as the world flexes and shifts beneath them. Extraordinary to think these lines were drawn centuries BCC and mapped by Ptolemy in the second century on his many atlases.

The zero degree line of latitude is fixed by nature whereas that of longitude is a political decision. The founding philosophy of the Greenwich Observatory viewed astronomy as a means to an end – all the stars needed to be catalogued to chart a course for sailors to cross the globe. Ptolemy first set the meridian off the northwest coast of Africa and many countries set their own starting point for 0 longitude. Eventually, after publication of a series of star charts beginning in 1767, made by the then Royal Astronomer, that became used world wide for nautical navigation, Greenwich was declared prime meridian of the world in 1884 (except by France who took another 27 years to accept the decision).

Longitude by Dava Sobel tells the story of the battle between proponents of the lunar distance method and the mechanical clock to solve the problem of determining longitude at sea. Astronomers and engineers became adversaries spurred by a financial reward offered to the one who came up the most accurate and reliable method. John Harrison (1693 – 1776) carpenter turned clockmaker spent his life perfecting the marine chronometer.

The Map That Changed The World by Simon Winchester might have some historical merit in telling the story of William ‘Strata’ Smith (1769 – 1839) but I found it over perambulatory in the telling.

Work underway for the upcoming Reading Stones exhibition with artists Anne Krinsky and Carol Wyss. We will be installing site-specific works in response to the history and architecture of the ancient stone Tower of Saint Augustine, Hackney’s oldest building. Built in the 13th century, the tower houses a magnificent 16th century clock whose mechanisms still strike the hours, occupying three floors connected by steep spiral stone stairs.

1908 clock.jpg

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.

I am working on a video which makes reference to the scientific theory of time crystals; a model which proposes a structure that repeats in time, as well as in space.

1908 Time Crystal 2 wip

Patterns used in the film aim to mirror the crystal structure of the mineral beryl, commonly used to fashion the original reading stones which were used to magnify texts before the invention of optical glass. Reading Stones could be considered the first instruments used to create an enhanced sensory experience.

1907 reading stones WIP 1

I am playing with speeding up, slowing down and overlapping events to deconstruct a linear flow of time and interrogate the methods used to measure and experience time. I  spent a couple of nights in remote car parks setting up a time lapse sequence under darkish skies in anticipation of  the Perseids Meteor Shower and was rewarded with my first experience of live meteor action.

1908 perseids

I also think there was a faint glimmer of the Milky Way. These weren’t true dark sky areas but not bad for an hour to two hour drive from London.

1908 milky way

Also set up a time lapse station overnight on the Suffolk coast with the two wind turbine’s in view that dominate the Kessingland village skyline. I was surprised to see how much aerial activity goes on usually unnoticed.

1908 wind turbines

Another times lapse experiment focused on crystal growing over a week period.

1908 crystal growing
Filming slowing down time with a Go Pro set at 240 frames per second to record smashing rocks.

1908 stone smash

I made some earth meteorites to collide with the ground but the results not so great.

1908 earth meteorites

1908 earth collision.JPG

Beautiful light in Richmond Park when photographing the tree clock’s I plan to make into spinning time portals

1908 tree rings

Hot Sunday morning traipsing around a car boot sale for ceramic atrocities to line up for an energy exchange experience.

1908 time is up

 

A site visit to St. Augustine’s Tower gave me pause for thought over the hanging sculpture I had planned which would possibly be dangerous to attempt. So looking at projecting directly onto the brickwork in that corner instead. This is giving me all sorts of issues over projecting in portrait mode and whether the projector will cope being on its side.

1908 projection test

Testing ideas for a viewing circle on the tower roof.

1908 viewing circle test

Inside the circle will be the image of a rock or meteorite.

I have been auditioning candidates.

1908 rock candidate

1908 meteorite

On the final day of the exhibition we will have extra activities which will include a lithomancy board and the chance to have your fortune told by the fall of the stones.

The act of “reading stones” can refer to both the scientific practice of geological investigation and the ritual of lithomancy which seeks to interpret the patterns of stones cast by those wishing to divine the future.

1908 laboradite

Made a trip to Box Hill Fort for a photo shoot of the artists books I had made for the Insatiable Mind Exhibition. The Fort is one of a line of 13 mobilisation centres built in the 1890’s to protect London from the threat of invasion from continental Europe. Never used for its intended purpose, it is now part of the National Trust Box Hill property and home to three species of bats that have taken up residence in the tunnels originally built for ammunition storage.

1908 old fort box hill

1908 unbound detail

‘Unbound’ depicts images taken from my cloud chamber. A cloud chamber is a supersaturated sealed environment that enables us to see the trails of cosmic rays. These high energy particles know no boundaries, travel at high speed across the universe and continuously pass unseen through us and our world. The twelve pentagons form a dodecahedron, the solid described by Plato as ‘the fifth construction, which the god used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven.’

1908 unbound

1908 InOUT detail

‘In/Out’ expresses the energy and randomness of quantum fluctuation as particles pop in-and-out of existence in empty space. At this tiny scale the universe is mysterious and unpredictable. Originating from a large crystal ball which reflects and absorbs its surrounding landscape, the bright spheres act as a series of portals to alternative perspectives.

1908 InOUT

Chilled evening at the Science Gallery for Zen-On a collaborative presentation from artist Ansuman Biswas and astroparticle physicist Chamkaur Ghag.

‘We have many tools at our disposal to gather information about the world. Physicists are tuning their instruments to an unprecedented level of sensitivity. Even burying super-cooled xenon under a mountain in the hope of detecting the faintest, most elusive particles of matter.

Ultimately, however, whatever external instruments we use, all data is experienced by our bodily senses. These senses turn out to be more finely tuned and calibrated than anything we have yet invented. And they are available to all of us, for free.

In this interactive performance we will draw parallels between the physical world around us and the physical experience of the body. We will explore the instrumentation we have available to us and discover its limits and possibilities in search of the subtlest and most elusive elements of reality.’

1908 zen-on polaroid

I enjoyed the parallels drawn between the search for dark matter and the search for inner peace, both of which require PURITY, QUIET and SENSITIVITY in processing data, looking for patterns and understanding knowledge.

The Dark Matter exhibition at Science Gallery was not so inspiring in its curation but there were a few nuggets to be gleaned.

Through the AEgIS from Semiconductor

1908 Science gallery semiconductor

Images gathered from data captured from the AEGIS experiment based at CERN of violent collisions between matter and antimatter, along with tracks of newly created particles, all of which are too small to see with the human eye reveal the chaos of the unseen.  The artists call it a “space time-lapse” work, showing an animation created from around 100,000 still images.

Mirror Matter by Emilija Škarnulytė

1908 Science gallery Emilija Škarnulytė
In thousands of years, how will the gigantic structures dedicated to the pursuit of science be viewed? Will their remains be viewed the same way we think of Stonehenge or the pyramids – relics of a previous civilisation? Mirror Matter is set 10,000 years from now, with an all-seeing alien eye surveying the ruins of scientific machines that once probed and measured the Universe.

The public engrossed in building Utopia at Tate Modern Turbine Hall

1908 Tate Turbine Hall lego

Olafur Eliasson In Real LIfe at Tate Modern works well for social media posts but on the day I felt mostly disappointed with one or three exceptions, this may be because it was like an unruly crèche or being swamped with spectacle.

  1. Waterfall 2019 against a grey London sky

1908 Olafur Eliasson Waterfall 2019

2. Model Room 2003

1908 Olafur Eliason model room

3. Glacial Currents 2018

 

and A description of a reflection 1995

1908 Olafur Eliason description reflection

Loved this idea

1908 Olafur Eliason magnetic field

Went on to see Takis Sculptor of Magnetism, Light and Sound which was great (also no babies)

1908 Takis magnetism

‘Plato speaks of an artist turning the invisible world into the visible. I hope that someone seeing my sculpture is lifted out of his ordinary state’

1908 Takis Telelumiere No 4

‘I cannot think of my work as entirely my work, I’m only a transmitter, I simply bathe in energy’

1908 Takis sound and silence

‘We have chased the sacred symbols into the desert and replaced them with electronic eyes’

1908 Takis Music of the Spheres

Reading Timothy Morton ‘Being Ecological’ I started off thinking I am going to love this book but after a chapter of multiple examples of how to look at ‘being ecological’ this way or that way I was a bit frustrated. I missed the reading group to see how everyone else got on.

I did find it interesting to discover that the Anthropocene has a proposed official start date and it’s very recent – 1945 – the time when the first atomic bomb was detonated.

1908 nuclear explosion 1945.jpg

In January 2015, 26 of the 38 members of the International Anthropocene Working Group published a paper suggesting the Trinity test on 16 July 1945 as the starting point of the proposed new epoch.