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.

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

 

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.

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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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.

 

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

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.