artworks

Where Shapes Come From

Where Shapes Come From (still), 2016

2016
9:00 / 9:50
two channel HD + single channel HD
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Where Shapes Comes From is a moving image work which considers how science translates nature, on an atomic scale.

Filmed in the mineral sciences laboratory at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, a scientist goes about his daily work in rock and mineral preparatory labs; cutting up large meteorites and preparing mineral samples for scientific study. Accompanying this, mineralogist Jeff Post describes the coming together of atoms to form matter. He details formations of organised structures and patterns as if they are happening in real-time, in front of our eyes, transcending time and space.

Raw seismic data, collected from the land forming Mariana deep sea trench, has been converted directly into sound and controls computer generated animations, which are composited into the labs. They depict interpretations of visual scientific forms associated with atomic structures, and the technologies which capture them. Sitting alongside these animated formations are hand-made assemblages of discarded materials and other curiosities, which now bear human signatures. They unite in bringing a sense of playfulness and personal touch to the ordinarily rigorous framework of science.By combining these scientific processes, languages and products associated with matter formation in the context of the everyday, they become fantastical and strange encouraging us to consider how science translates nature and question our experiences of the physical world.

Filmed at the Mineral Sciences Laboratory, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. during its 100th year.
Audio made from Mariana Trench seismic data courtesy of the IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) Network.
Dialogue: Jeffrey E. Post, Geologist, Curator in Charge, Mineral Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Scientist: Jonathon Cooper

Supported by Arts Council England.
Co-commissioned by EDP Foundation and Phoenix Leicester.
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Earthworks

Documentation of Earthworks at SonarPLANTA, 2016

2016
5 channel computer generated animation with 4 channel surround sound
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Watch a film where Semiconductor discuss the ideas and processes behind Earthworks here (made by Tom Thistlethwaite/Fabrica Brighton): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkg38zms44Q&t=255s

Watch Semiconductor in Conversation with Laura McDermott, Creative Director of Attenborough Centre of the Creative Arts, on the occasion of Earthworks at Fabrica, solo exhibition, 2020

Earthworks is a five channel computer generated animation, which creates an immersive experience of the phenomena of landscape formation through the scientific and technological devices that are used to study it.  Masses of colourful layers are animated by the sound-scapes of earthquake, volcanic, glacial and human activity, recorded as seismic waves, which form spectacular fluctuating marbled waveforms.

Semiconductor have employed the scientific technique of Analogue Modelling, which uses layers of real world multi-coloured particles and application of pressure and motion to simulate tectonic and seismic forces. As the layers become deformed they reproduce the generation and evolution of landscapes in nature over thousands of years, revealing them to be in a constant state of flux.

Semiconductor have acquired seismic data captured as a result of land shifting and forming, from all over the world. There are four distinct sections to the work, each using a different set of seismic data. This includes; glacial, earthquake, volcano and human-made seismic activity captured at La Planta quarry, Spain, to represent the Anthropocene, a new geological era influenced by humans. The data has been translated to audio to form the soundtrack of the work, and simultaneously control the animation of the layers. The data as sound directly sculpts the image, re-animates the landscape, and reflects the symbiotic relationship between landscape formation and seismic vibrations. The seismic audio is rich and full of the intricacies of the dynamics of our planet in motion.

By using seismic data to control the masses of layers Semiconductor are not only playing with the idea that it is these forces that have shaped landscapes, but also that being an event that occurs beyond a human-time frame, landscape formation can only be experienced through scientific technological mediation of nature. It produces information about time, space and phenomena that no human consciousness could possibly have witnessed. It is as if we are watching hundreds of thousands of years played out in front of our eyes, enabling us to bear witness to events which ordinarily occur on geological time-frames.

By adopting the analogue modelling techniques, the work celebrates the revelatory capacities of modern science and technologies to create a kind of technological sublime, whilst simultaneously inviting viewers to consider the philosophical problems posed by such technologically mediated observations of imperceptible phenomena.

Earthworks is commissioned by SónarPLANTA
Produced by Advanced Music

Thanks to:
Fundació Sorigué
Sónar Festival/Advanced Music
Nigel Bax

University of Barcelona:
Dr Albert Casas Ponsati
Raul Lovera Carrasco
Mahjoub Himi Benomar
Dr. Josep Anton Muñoz
Oriol Ferrer

Cai Matthews
Jose Luis de Vicente
Salvador Rey Nagel

Seismic data courtesy of the Iris (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) Consortium

Earthworks, Fabrica, Brighton, solo show, 2020. Photo: Fabrica/Tom Thistlethwaite

 

Film by Semiconductor documenting the making of Earthworks

The Shaping Grows

The Shaping Grows by Semiconductor for Swarovski, image David Levene. Installation view at the Design Museum, London, 2012

2012
03.00 minute loop
4 channel HD + 4 channel audio
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The Shaping Grows is a computer generated animation of a subterranean cavern, brought to life through seismic data. Fantastical mineral crystals chaotically emerge and evolve according to the natural resonance of our shifting planet. These manifestations reveal atomic structures in their rawest form providing a window into the make-up of the physical world, where simple shapes come together to create intricate and complex formations. Here, Semiconductor draw a parallel between these basic molecular structures and the building blocks of the digital world, a world which has become the prism through which we increasingly experience reality.

The animation spans multiple time frames condensing geological events and processes through time-lapse techniques, allowing us to bear witness to mineral crystal growth patterns and the traces they leave behind. Mineral crystals can become consumed by larger formations or play host to wildly different structures, as physical conditions change over time and favour certain elemental and chemical reactions. Matter can also become trapped inside formations as they grow, creating ‘inclusions’. The resulting objects store the memory of their making and can be read to learn the story of their evolution and the conditions in which they grew.

Semiconductor have collected seismic data of recent earthquake activity from around the world and converted it into sound. This directly animates and controls the formations and provides a sound-scape of the Earth in a state of flux.

Commissioned by Swarovski for the exhibition Digital Crystal at the Design Museum, London.

Worlds in the Making

Worlds in the Making, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, UK, 2011. Photo: Brian Slater

2011
23.00 minutes
3 channel HD
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Worlds in the Making is an epic three channel moving image work that explores how we observe, experience and create an understanding of the physical origins of the world around us. By appropriating the tools and processes of volcanology to re-interpret the primordial landscapes of our volcanic planet, Semiconductor create a world slightly removed from the one we think we know, disrupting our every day assumptions of reality and questioning how science affects our experience of the natural world.

In the work the use of audio investigates our relationship with the physical, scientific and ephemeral nature of sound. Seismic data collected from beneath volcanoes and translated into audio evokes images of rocks crunching and grinding below the Earth and is used as a sculptural tool to generate elaborate CG animations of matter forming as mineral crystals. A scientist’s dialogue appears to guide us through extraordinary landscapes while Oren Ambarchi’s composition overwhelms as it brings an emotional connection to place.

The viewer is transported through dystopian landscapes, strangely exquisite animations, fantastical vistas, and natural phenomena to a world between science fiction and science fact.

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Commissioned by Jacqui Davies and FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology.Supported by Arts Council England. Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists Fellowship. Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship.

Credits:

Music by Oren Ambarchi – Published by Touch Music (MCPS)
Richard S. Fiske – Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Mineral Sciences Department: for his oratory skills, field notes and methodical tephra sorting.
Ellen Thurneau – Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Mineral Sciences Department.
William G. Melson – Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Mineral Sciences Department: for his audio recordings of Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica erupting.
Jonathan M. Lees, Professor of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. For his seismic data collected at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador which features in the work..
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.
Jorge Ordonez at Instituto Geofisico, Quito Ecuador
Adam and Miriam at Instituto Geofisico, Quito Ecuador
Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Dennis Geist, Professor of Geology at the University of Idaho, USA
Gorki Ruiz at Instituto Geofisico, Quito Ecuador
Instituto Geofisico Volcano Observatory, Tungurahua, Ecuador
Scientific paper: Liquid Sulfur at Volcan Azufre, Galapagos Islands by W.E. Colony and Bert E. Nordle, 1973. Charles Darwin Research Station Library, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador.
Produced by Jacqui Davies.

preview of Worlds in the Making installation – to watch HD full screen double-click the image

 

Crystallised

Crystallised (still), 2011

2011
various lengths
HD
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Crystallised is a series of digital mineral crystal animations generated and animated by sound recordings of ice crystals. Each structure takes on a different form, growing and evolving in exquisite detail. Mineral crystals reveal atomic structures in their rawest form and provide a window into the make-up of the physical world, where simple shapes come together to create intricate and complex formations. With this series of works, Semiconductor draw a parallel between these basic molecular structures and the building blocks of the digital world, which has become the prism through which we increasingly experience reality. The animations suggest pre-ordained patterns and order that appear to underlie everything and lead us to question our experiences of the very fabric of our world.

Indefatigable

Indefatigable (still), 2010

2010
07.08 minutes
HD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

A team is at work dissecting what appears to be a simple bush. The examination is carried out with such conviction and reverence, towards something which is seemingly so mundane, that the whole process appears quite absurd.
The focus becomes the actions and techniques employed; through observation and simple measuring devices they document their findings, communicating with subtle gestures, with only a few numbers and mumbles exchanged.
Sitting somewhere between science documentary and fiction, this work reflects on how we as humans construct methods to learn about the physical world around us.

Filmed during a Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists Residency. Thanks to Charles Darwin Foundation, Jorges Luis Renteria, Claudio Crespo, Eliana Boontti and Veronica Toval.
Premiered at Venice Film Festival 1-11 September 2010

Heliocentric

Heliocentric (excerpt), 2010

2010
15:00 minutes
HD single + multi-channel versions
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Heliocentric uses time-lapse photography and astronomical tracking to plot the sun’s trajectory across a series of landscapes. The entire environment feels to pan past the camera whilst the sun stays in the centre of each frame, enabling us to gauge the earth’s rotation and orbit around the sun. As the Suns light becomes disrupted by passing weather conditions and the environment through which we encounter it, it audibly plays them as if it were a stylus.

It is usually all but impossible to visualize how the earth moves around the sun, even though we know it to be true. Instead we ‘see’ the sun move around us. The ‘heliocentric’ view of the universe was debated from the third century BC onwards and remained contentious into modern times.

Shooting into the sun creates many intriguing artifacts; lens flares and glare spill over the landscape, white outs burn the image, and colours bleed into one, creating aureoles. The power of the sun still exceeds what both the human eye and the artificial eye of the camera can bear. And whilst our knowledge of the universe is ever-growing, we can only encounter and know it from our own humble vantage point.

Heliocentric is co-commissioned by AV Festival + Northern Lights Film Festival, UK.

 

 

Out of the Light

Out of the Light (video excerpt), 2008

2008
10:00 minutes
HD single channel floor projection + expanded version
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Over time, celestial patterns can reveal themselves through the play of light and shadow on the world around us. Out of the Light is a CGI time based sculpture, which recreates these shadow phenomena to explore how we can make sense of the world through observation; we experience a solar eclipse as observed through the branches of a tree, the rhythm of a city as its shadows phase from days to months to years and the transit of Venus observed through the construction of simple human made tools. Viewing these events with the unaided eye allows for anomalies in the quality and nature of light which are played upon here, to explore our perceptual sensitivities.

Commissioned by Arcadi, Paris
Solar audio courtesy of Alexander G.Kosovichev at Stanford University.
Installation photograph; Wild Sky at Edith Russ House For Media Art, Germany. Courtesy Franz Wamhof

Matter in Motion

Matter in Motion (still), 2008

2008
05:36 minutes
HD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The Universe is at once in a constant state of integration and disintegration. In searching for an understanding of the material world around us, Semiconductor have restructured the city of Milan. Displaying attributes more familiar to the molecular world its cityscapes have started to take on natural properties that reveal a city in pieces and generative forms that are in perpetual transformation.
Matter in Motion is a series of vignettes which originated as photographic panoramas taken around Milan. In each setting field recordings have been made and used to directly reconstruct the fabric of the city, introducing a temporal and spatial allusion. Give me matter and motion and I will construct the universe – Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Commissioned by Careof Gallery Milan for Incontemporanea at La Triennale, Milan, Italy 2008.

Magnetic Movie

Magnetic Movie, 2007

2007
04:47 minutes
HD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries . All action takes place around NASA’s Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley, to recordings of space scientists describing their discoveries. Actual VLF audio recordings control the evolution of the fields as they delve into our inaudible surroundings, revealing recurrent ‘whistlers’ produced by fleeting electrons . Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?

An Animate Projects commission for Channel 4 in association with Arts Council England.
Shot at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley, California, USA.

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Many thanks to the following people:
Bill Abbett, David Brain, Bob Lin, Janet Luhmann, Stephen Mende, Forrest Mozer, Ilan Roth and Paul Thompson.
Also big thanks to the CSE team at the Silver Space Sciences Lab. UC Berkeley, USA.
VLF Recordings: Stephen P.McGreevy

Awarded the Nature ‘Scientific Merit Award’ by Imagine Science Film Festival, New York, 2009.
Purchased by the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington for the permanent collection, 2008.
Awarded ‘Best Film at Cutting Edge’ at the British Animation Awards, 2008.
Special Mention, ‘Best International Experimental Short’ at Leeds International Film Festival, 2008. Awarded ‘Best Experimental Film’ at Tirana International Film Festival, 2007.

Time Out of Place

Time Out of Place (still), 2007

2007
9:30 minutes
HD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The linear nature of time means we have a very fixed experience of it; constantly stuck in the present. To break free from these constraints Semiconductor have devised a process whereby we see the past present and future simultaneously. This act of seeing time reveals a different visual landscape than we are custom to, as multiple patterns of motion emerge to reveal a new rhythm to the city. Bearing witness to these events we perceive expanded moments within human history that lie beyond our everyday experiences.

Commissioned by The Big Chill with curator Alice Sharp to celebrate the opening of the Eurostar in the Arrivals programme, 2007: including a specially composed soundtrack by Red Snapper for the opening exhibition at the Big Chill House.

Acousticity

Acousticity (still), 2006

2006
02:40
HD single channel / surround sound
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Acousticity is a site specific animation commissioned by Prague Contemporary Art Festival, June 2006 as part of the show In a Silent Way: Susan Philipsz, Mark Bain, Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Semiconductor, Martin Janicek, Yuji Oshima and Paolo Piscitelli. Curated By Daniele Balit.

During many excursions around the Czech capital, Semiconductor photographed and recorded the sights and sounds of the city; reaching from the suburbs and its factories to the city’s famous medieval centre. Each section of the film is controlled and animated by the sound that was recorded in situ at time of the photography, creating a physical connection between the images and the audio. The animated photos bring to life the fabric of the city using resonance to open a window onto the physicality of the structures themselves. The buildings appear to be exploding with energetic particles leaving it unclear whether we are looking at time speeded up, or an unseen moment in time.

Earthmoves

Earthmoves (still), 2006

2006
05:02 minutes
HD single channel + 3 channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Earth Moves is an exploration into how unseen forces affect the fabric of our world. By collecting field recordings and using them to directly animate photographs of the landscapes from which they came, the limits of human perception are exposed, revealing a world which is unstable and in a constant state of animation. As the forces of acoustic waves come into play on our surroundings, we bear witness to vast undulating terrains, which challenge our everyday experiences of the world around us.
The South-East of England is explored through a series of five audio controlled photographic panoramas.

Earth Moves is an Arts Council England commission and is permanently installed at the South East offices, Brighton.
Earth Moves was developed from an idea initiated during participation in Greg Daville’s City Running, Brighton March 2006.
Three screen version of Earthmoves commissioned by Lovebytes.

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All the Time in the World

All the Time in the World (still), 2005

2005
04:40
SD single channel / surround sound
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Presented as a fictional documentary, All the Time in The World sees the millions of years that have shaped and formed the land, played out at the speed of sound.
Semiconductor have reanimated Northumbria ‘s epic landscape using data recordings from the archives at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh . This data of local and distant seismic disturbances has been converted to sound and used to sculpt and bring to life the constantly shifting geography around us.
We follow the motion of the sound as it travels from the coast at Cocklawburn to the hills of The Cheviots, transforming the land. We travel to Abb’s Head and witness Earth Lights, made visible by the seismic sounds. These phenomena are said to be the result of tectonic movement in the strata below us. Flashes of light and electricity are produced as movement squeezes mineral crystals together, displaying luminous objects whose motion coincides with the direction of ruptures within the earth.

Filmed and animated between October and March 2005 during a fellowship at Berwick Gymnasium Art Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, UK. Supported by English Heritage and Arts Council England North East

Domestic E.M.I.

Domestic E.M.I (Screen grab), 2001

2001
Acoustic Web Diagram
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Domestic E.M.I. was an online interactive acoustic diagram. Exploring visually and aurally areas of domestic interference: including vibrations and atmospheric disturbances through the action of man and earthly phenomenon.

Domestic E.M.I. focuses on the potential effects of magnetic interference in our daily lives, we are becoming increasingly aware of these intrusions and the effects on our personal environments.

A domestic space is the focus of an interactive acoustic diagram which is put under the microscope.

The main navigational area is constructed in Flash , utilising action script for specific sound and visual interaction, where the objects respond to the actual waveform.

Domestic E.M.I. uses external links as a resource of information, which relates to the interactive journeys through sound and vibration. The external links become part of the fiction the landscape portrays.

Domestic E.M.I. was produced by Semiconductor during an Artists Residency at the exhibition, “The Origin of Painting” by Disinformation , which took place at Fabrica in Brighton during November and December 2001.

Launch Domestic E.M.I.