artworks

Parting the Waves

Parting the Waves, excerpt

2017
15:00
two channel HD moving image / three channel sound
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Parting the Waves takes the visual language and method of quantum simulations, as a framework for exploring how science describes and attempts to harness the quantum realm.

Semiconductor have taken as a starting point simulated ‘surface plots’: realised as three co-ordinate graphs, they present mathematical computations of particle interactions, in a quantum system. The plots appear as varying degrees of undulating waveforms, created by the intensity of particles interactions being affected by distance, over time. A pair of square screens installed at 90 degrees expands upon two moving image projections, becoming a graph-like object in the space, mimicking the system employed by scientists to present the simulations.

Sound drives the CGI work, generating and animating visual waveforms. Starting with Hertz: the standard unit for measuring frequency in cycles per second, specific tones have been selected which create harmonies and dissonances, to play with notions of phasing, shifting and interactions in a quantum system. As the tones shift, disturbing the system, so it responds visually, producing varying degrees of amplitude, wavelength and frequency which result in complex interference patterns. The colours are representative of the coding system scientists use, to identify specific parameters or patterns when model making.

Visual and audible noise is used to introduce the concept of coherence and de-coherence in a quantum system: the point at which a systems behaviour changes from that which can be explained by quantum mechanics to classical mechanics. Other details hint at mathematical tools and terms associated with the phenomena of quantum systems such as; superposition, entanglement and wave functions.

Quantum simulations are approximations of nature that are modelled and then compared to other models, to gradually build up a picture of the phenomena being studied. The layers of modelling are a language by which scientists can communicate their findings and get closer to nature. Semiconductor are interested in the extent to which these tools and scientific products bear the signature of a human hand. By making a work where you experience nature through the language that is made to study it, they want to question how our experiences of nature are mediated through science.

Parting the Waves was created through a FEAT (Future Emerging Art and Technology) Residency. FEAT is an initiative of eutema GmbH (AT), Stichting Waag Society (NL), and youris.com (BE). It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 686527 (H2020-FETOPEN-2015-CSA).

Special thanks to:
Sabrina Maniscalco, University of Turku
Anton Buyskikh, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, UK
Computational Nonlinear and Quantum Optics Group, Strathclyde University, Scotland
Turku Centre for Quantum Physics, University of Turku, Finland

Parting the Waves, solo Exhibition at Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, 2018. Photo: (c) Martin Argyroglo.

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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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.

20Hz

20Hz (excerpt), 2011

2011
05.00 minutes
HD + HD 3D single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

20Hz observes a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Working with data collected from the CARISMA radio array and interpreted as audio, we hear tweeting and rumbles caused by incoming solar wind, captured at the frequency of 20 Hertz. Generated directly by the sound, tangible and sculptural forms emerge suggestive of scientific visualisations. As different frequencies interact both visually and aurally, complex patterns emerge to create interference phenomena that probe the limits of our perception.

Audio Data courtesy of CARISMA, operated by the University of Alberta, funded by the Canadian Space Agency. Special thanks to Andy Kale.

20Hz is co-commissioned by Arts Santa Monica + Lighthouse. Supported by the British Council. Commissioned for the Invisible Fields Exhibition at Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona. 2011-2012.

Awarded the ‘Golden Gate Award for New Visions’ at San Francisco International Film Festival, 2012.
Awarded the ‘Art and Science Award’ at Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2012.
Awarded first prize at Quantum Shorts 2014, Centre for Quantum Technologies, University of Singapore.

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.

Double Adaptor – 200 Nanowebbers

2005
02:49
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

For ‘200 Nanowebbers’, Semiconductor have created a molecular web that is generated by Double Adaptor’s live soundtrack. Using custom-made scripting, the melodies and rhythms spawn a nano scale environment that shifts and contorts to the audio resonance. Layers of energetic hand drawn animations, play over the simplest of vector shapes that form atomic scale associations. As the landscape flickers into existence by the light of trapped electron particles, substructures begin to take shape and resemble crystalline substances.

Sonic Inc.

Sonic Inc. performance, Mutek Festival, Montreal, Canada 2007. Photo: Caroline Hayeur

2004 – 2008
various lengths
live animation software
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Inspired by the challenge to create and manipulate an entire work of sonic animation in real-time, Semiconductor custom-made their own live performance software, Sonic Inc. The performance is a joint effort that sees Semiconductor creating forms and compositions on the fly through a process of drawing and manipulation, whilst the computer ‘listens’ to the audio, realising and animating the digital creations to its resonance.

The visual aesthetic of Sonic Inc. moves away from the high-tech world of computer graphics and towards the inherent visual language of the computer. Slick complexity is stripped back to reveal the basic building blocks of computational visual language. Using this Semiconductor explore artificial expression within the realm of computer animation.

The performance has six chapters of evolution; progressing from elementary forms to burgeoning worlds, and finally simple life forms, which learn to move autonomously, grow and build their own environments.

Every element is created and controlled in real-time; the forms, cameras, the viewpoint, the creation and application of image textures,the creature development, the landscape creation etc.

This is multi-purpose software which can also be used as an improvisational tool, using a direct audio feed with live musicians.

“Things are quite unpredictable with Sonic Inc., there’s a lot of risk taking involved as we make everything from scratch, controlling every element, things get pretty hectic. Unpredictable isn’t a quality you normally associate with a computer, but we have always liked the bringing together of analogue and digital, the human and the machine. We are the element that makes it erratic and are an uneven match for the computer. Performing with Sonic Inc is totally free-form, something which our pre-rendered works are certainly not – they are tight and time consuming.” Semiconductor

Semiconductor would like to thank Julian Weaver for his skills and patience, Niels Gorisse for CPS http://www.bonneville.nl/cps
and Andrew Duff for his midi-magic.

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Performances using Sonic Inc:

Sightsonic Festival, York, UK – Early 2008
Mutek Festival, Montreal, Canada  Semiconductor solo performance and collaboration with Hauschka 2007
Aurora, Norwich Animation Festival- 9th November 2007
Lab30 Festival, Augsberg, Germany – 27th October – 2007
Almost Cinema, Vooruit, Ghen, 9th October 2007
Outsider Festival, La Maison Europeene de La Photography, Paris- 28/29 Sept. 2007
Volksbhune, Berlin, Germany – 23rd Sept. 2007
c/o Pop Festival, Cologne, Germany – 16th August 2007
Montevideo, Amsterdam- 4th July 2007
La Rochelle Film Festival, France – 7th July 2007
Sonic Arts Expo, Plymouth, UK- 23 June 2007
FutureSonic, Manchester, UK- 10/12 May 2007
Nemo Festival, Paris – 25 April 2007
Socetas Raffaello Sanzio,Cesena, Italy – 24/25th March 2007
A:Event, Melkveg, Amsterdam – 11th March 2007
Optronica, SouthBank BFI IMAX, London – 15th March 2007
The Cube, Bristol – collaboration with Antenna Farm – 9th March 2007
Short Circuit, Hasselt Belgium – collaboration with Antenna Farm – January 2007
Consortorium Gallery, Amsterdam – December 2006
Music Research Centre, York University, UK – Ocotber 2006
Bios, Athens, Greece – September 2006
San Francisco Electronic Music Festival at RML – August 2006 21 Grand, Oakland, USA -January 2006
UC Davis, USA – November 2005
Other Cinema, San Francisco, USA – November 2005
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA – September 2005
Late at the Tate, Tate Britain, London – June 2005
Sintesi Festival of Electronic Art: Naples – April 2005
Festival Nemo: Paris, France – April 2005
Images Festival, Torronto, Canada – April 2005
Beaconsfield, London – April 2005
Side Cinema, Newcastle – March 2005
Transmediale, Berlin – February 2005
Computer Cinema festival, Rotterdam – November 2004
Cimatics, Brussels – October 2004

Inaudible Cities

Indaudible Cities, 2002

 

2002
06:42
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The first in a series of short films where cities are made of and controlled by sound. In this episode, every detail of an urban landscape is built by the sonic pressures of an oncoming electrical storm. The very fabric of this isolated world is defined by the noises and frequencies that surround a space in another aural dimension. Semiconductor wrote a program which listens to the various parts of the soundtrack and constructs the animated environments.

Commissioned by Lighthouse.
Thanks to Evelyn Wilson, Matt Tizard and Andrew Duff.