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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Cosmos

Cosmos, 2014, Alice Holt Forest, UK

2014
sculpture
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Cosmos is a two metre spherical wooden sculpture that has been formed from scientific data made tangible. Interested in the divide between how science represents the physical world and how we experience it, Semiconductor have taken scientific data as being a representation of nature and are exploring how we can physically relate to it.

Located in the Forestry Commissions Alice Holt Forest, U.K., the sculpture is made from one year’s worth of measurements of the take up and loss of carbon dioxide from the forest trees, collected from the top of a 28m high flux tower located nearby in Alice Holt Research Forest.

To reveal the visual patterns and shapes inherent in the data Semiconductor developed custom digital techniques to translate the data from strings of numbers into three-dimensional forms. The result is complex interference patterns produced by the waveforms and patterns in the data.

Through this process of re-contextualising the data it has becomes abstract in form and meaning, taking on sculptural properties. These sculptural forms become unreadable within the context of science, yet become a physical form we can see, touch, experience and readable in a new way. Here, humanising the data offers a new perspective of the natural world it is documenting.

The definition of cosmos is a complete, orderly, harmonious system and here refers to the sources of the combined data which work in harmony to make the forest what it is. 

Cosmos is commissioned through Jerwood Open Forest, a partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England.

Semiconductor would like to thank:
Matt Wilkinson, Forest Research, Forestry Commission England for the data.
Julian Williams, Alice Holt Forest
Richard Barrass, Civil Engineer
Matt Risdale and Karn Sandilands, Millimetre, fabricators of Cosmos
Penny Harris, Parker Harris, Project managers
Hayley Skipper, Forestry Commission England
WUP Doodle, CNC machining

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

 

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.

 

 

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

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 (excerpt), 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.

Do You Think Science…

Do You Think Science…(short edit), 2006

2006
12:15 minutes + 06:16 minutes
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

By asking a group of space physicists the unanswerable Semiconductor reveal the hidden motivations driving scientists to the outer limits of human knowledge. In an attempt to find meaning within the question, they open a Pandora’s Box of limitations within science itself, revealing their own philosophical confines. Issues of faith, medicine and the laws of matter are raised to illustrate the infinitely complex universe we live in.

Made during an Arts Council England International Artists Fellowship Programme: Art and Space Science at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Lab., University of California, U.S.A. In partnership with the Leonardo network and NASA.

Thanks to the following scientists at The Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley, California, USA:
Stuart Bale, David Brain, John Bonnell, Nahide Craig, Janet Luhmann, Bryan Mendez, Forrest Mozer, Stephen Mende, Ilan Roth, Chris Snead, Charles Townes and Andrew Westphal.

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.

 

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.

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

Linear

Linear (still), 2001

2001
05:35
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

A C.G.I. documentary about a Hi-Fi Rise somewhere in the 21st Century. Portraying the story of T.O.E. (Theory of Everything). String, a confused citizen within a quaking urban universe.

Selected screenings and installations:

Other Cinema, San Francisco,USA, November 2005
UC Davis, California, USA, November 2005
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA , September 2005
Festival Nemo, Paris, France, April 2005
Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, Pi Days, May 2005
Group show: The Cube; Esapce De Creation Numerique,Paris France
20 March – 20 July 2005
The British Council Jerusalem , Israel: 3rd June 2004
Sound Films 1999-2003, ICA Digital Suite, London, September 2003
The Lux Open, Royal College of Art : London April 2003
Sonar Festvial, Barcelona, June 2002
Ruido Digital, Belo Horizonte , Brazil, December 2002