artworks

Band 9

Band 9, Pump House Gallery, London, 2015. Photo: Pump House Gallery/Photo Eoin Carey

2015
installation of 9 light boxes / various sizes
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Images Courtesy Pump House Gallery/Photo Eoin Carey

Band 9 is an installation that considers nature within the framework of science. Nine light boxes show scientific cloud data, which have been captured from space by a remote sensing satellite, orbiting the Earth. Using optical sensors it collects reflected light in various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. By focusing on very thin slices of these, scientists can pinpoint individual phenomena such as the band we see here, which is designed to reveal high-altitude clouds called Cirrus.

In this instance, scientists are not interested in the clouds themselves, but in removing their shadows and wispy texture from their data: whose presence obscures the real information they are trying to collect. Semiconductor have embraced these redundant images for their power to offer new ways of seeing a familiar place. Re-contextualised in this way and bearing the signatures of science, the images have become a kind of technological sublime.

What we see in the images is dictated by the capturing technology; the satellite scans in 115 mile wide swathes orbiting the earth from north to south and anything beyond the dedicated wavelengths is swallowed into a black void. The angle the light boxes are installed reflects the incline the data has been captured and archived at. By presenting the raw satellite data using techniques informed by the capturing technology Semiconductor are, exploring how technologies that are made to study nature, mediate our experiences and understanding of it.

Band 9 is commissioned by Pump House Gallery, London.
Data available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Catching the Light

Catching the Light, video documentation, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 2014

2014
multi-channel HD moving image with 6 metre wide Alucore screens
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Catching the Light is a moving image installation which explores how science and technology frame our experiences of the natural world.

Created using visual data collected by space telescopes, the six metre wide projection is made up of thousands of images which have been assembled to create time-lapse sequences. By collaging these images of space together, Semiconductor have disrupted their original spatial relationships, to create new patterns and points of reference. They have, in effect, remapped the sky.

By collecting the data in its rawest form Semiconductor are able to present it as the telescope captured it. Ordinarily scientists would remove any noise, anomalies or signatures of the technology associated with the capturing process, but Semiconductor have embraced these artefacts, using them to remind us of how our perception of deep space is framed by the tools and processes of science.

The shape of the screens reflect the space observatories’ image capturing process: as they photograph chosen parts of the sky, the trail of images produce assorted shaped arrays, which are then used as points of reference in the data archives. Semiconductor have combined three of these arrays in their native format to make the screen composition. Used in this way they become portholes or windows into the universe, they also suggest that what we are seeing is only a part of a much larger picture.

The screens are installed away from the wall to create floating objects. The aluminium composite material used to fabricate them is commonly used in the production of scientific objects sent into space; as well as being light weight and strong it typically bears its honeycomb innards revealing its workings.  The matt black surface of the screen resonates with how scientists and engineers use the mattest of blacks in the production of space optics to absorb unwanted light.

The four channel sound runs along the width of the screen, shifting as events appear and disappear. Using the luminescence of the image to create and control sound, the visual events carve a sonic space out of a field of noise, producing a singing universe of harmonic tones, reminiscent of radio telescope data translated into audible frequencies.

Semiconductor are interested in how technology, made to study nature, mediates our experiences and understanding of it. Here, by employing the products of science they have created an interpretation of deep space framed by the technology that is made to capture it, leading us to question what we are experiencing.

Catching the Light is commissioned by ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for Da Vinci: Shaping the Future exhibition, 2014-2015.
Data obtained from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) 
Programmer Julian Weaver

Currently fundraising for production of single channel version. If you’re interested in supporting this please get in in touch.

Some Part of Us Will Have Become

Some Part of Us Will Have Become (still), 2012

2012
03.00 minute TV edit + 05:45 minutes
HD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Some Part of Us Will Have Become is the lament of a lone robot bearing witness to a human-made disaster. Made using internet streams captured during the Deepwater Horizon disaster Semiconductor have created a science fiction, narrated by the voice of a remotely operated vehicle. Whilst declaring hopelessness and despair it attempts in vain to quell the disaster, systematically arranging human-made debris. Overwhelming in enormity, the endeavour ends……without success…

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Some Part of Us Will Have Become is commissioned by Channel 4 and Arts Council England. Curated by Jacqui Davies and Mike Stubbs for Random Acts.
Text by Rowena Easton
Music by Hildur Gudnadottir. Published by Touch Music (MCPS).

Inferno Observatory

Inferno Observatory (preview), 2011

2011
various lengths
multi-channel SD
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Inferno Observatory is a multi-channel moving image work that explores humankind’s complex relationship with natural phenomena. During a fellowship at the Mineral Sciences Laboratory in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, Semiconductor unearthed a 16mm volcano film archive shot by volcanologists in the field, it reveals spectacular occurrences and curious, obsessive and sometimes absurd processes of observing and studying volcanoes.
In the work, these films have been re-contextualised to emphasise and examine three distinct relationships; the erupting volcano as all-powerful and humbling, the spectacle as people gather to watch in collective amazement, photograph and be photographed and the taming of the volcano through scientific probing, measurement and human endeavour.

Archive footage courtesy of Mineral Sciences Department, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC. Commissioned by Jacqui Davies and FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology. Supported by Arts Council England. Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship.

Credits

Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Scientists films, film archive.
Music by Peeesseye.
Andreas Bick, sound recording of Mt. Yassur Volcano, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.
Professor Willy Aspinall, Earth Sciences, Bristol University, UK. For his audio recording ‘St Vincent 1979’.
Jonathan M. Lees, Professor of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. For his seismic data collected at Tungurahua volcano.
Gregory P. Waite, Assistant Professor of Geophysics, Michigan Technological University, USA. For his seismic data from Fuego Volcano, Guatemala and Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA.
Produced by Jacqui Davies.

Inferno Observatory video documentation, FACT, Liverpool, UK, solo show, 2011

Black Rain

Black Rain (excerpt), 2009

2009
03:00 minutes / 17:00 minute loop
Single channel + installation
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Black Rain is sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO. Here we see the HI (Heliospheric Imager) visual data as it tracks interplanetary space for solar wind and CME’s (coronal mass ejections) heading towards Earth.

Working with STEREO scientists, Semiconductor collected all the HI image data to date, revealing the journey of the satellites from their initial orientation, to their current tracing of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Solar wind, CME’s, passing planets and comets orbiting the sun can be seen as background stars and the milky way pass by.

As in Semiconductor’s previous work ‘Brilliant Noise’ which looked into the sun, they work with raw scientific satellite data which has not yet been cleaned and processed for public consumption. By embracing the artefacts  calibration and phenomena of the capturing process we are reminded of the presence of the human observer who endeavours to extend our perceptions and knowledge through technological innovation.

Many thanks to: Chris Davis and Steve Crothers at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK + Stuart Bale and Steven Christe at Space Sciences Lab UC Berkeley, USA

Documentation of Black Rain at Earth: Art of a changing World, Royal Academy, London 2010

Brilliant Noise

Brilliant Noise (excerpt), 2006

2006
various lengths
SD / HD / single channel + multi-channel versions
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Brilliant Noise takes us into the data vaults of solar astronomy. After sifting through hundreds of thousands of computer files, made accessible via open access archives, Semiconductor have brought together some of the sun’s finest unseen moments. These images have been kept in their most raw form, revealing the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise. This grainy black and white quality is routinely cleaned up by NASA, hiding the processes and mechanics in action behind the capturing procedure. Most of the imagery has been collected as single snapshots  by ground based observatories and satellites, they are then reorganised into their spectral groups to create time-lapse sequences. The soundtrack highlights the hidden forces at play upon the solar surface, by directly translating areas of intensity within the image brightness into layers of audio manipulation and radio frequencies.

Thanks to the following solar observatories whose data archives were used in the making of this film: Mount Wilson Observatory UCLA, Lasco/SOHO Naval Research Laboratory, TRACE/LMSAL, Big Bear Solar Observatory/NJIT, SST/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Gong/National Solar Observatory/AURA/NSF Thanks also to: Steven Christie, Iain Hannah, the CSE team and all at the space sciences Lab. UC Berkeley.

Brilliant Noise was made during an Arts Council England International Artists Fellowship at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley, California, USA.

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Awarded second prize by the Science Film Festival, a Coruna Spain. 2008.
Awarded second prize at Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival 2006.
Awarded Best Video at Experimental Film and Video Festival, Seoul, Korea 2006.

 

Earthquake Films

Earthquake3
Earthquake Films (still), 2000

2000
09:35
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Songlines sung by an earthquake. This was an early live experiment performed at one of Semiconductors’ E.M.I. (Electro Magnetic Interference) events in Brighton, 2000. It also formed part of a DVD-Rom section in Hi-Fi Rise, Semiconductors’ first DVD release in 2001.