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.
lottery_Logo_Black RGB 3cm wide

 

Earthworks

Earthworks, SónarPLANTA, Barcelona, 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

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

Film by Semiconductor documenting the making of Earthworks

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

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…

lottery__black wide

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).

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.

lottery__black wide

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.

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

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.

lottery__black wide

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.

Sound of Microclimates

Sound of Microclimates (still), 2004

2004
08:20 minutes
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The Sound of Microclimates reveals the sights and sounds of a series of unusual weather patterns in the Paris of today. Here, architecture has become interwoven with the natural processes of the geographical landscape. Set within the un-noticed moments in time, extreme microclimates are presented as the future in city accessories, revealing the unseen urban terrains of tomorrow.
Like the temporary staged events at an World Expo these weather patterns hi-light public spaces and architecture within the City or Paris. They exist as a series of weather observations that animate the evolution of the inanimate urban condition. Each microclimatic intervention has its own audible frequencies, where the sound from each environment animates the movement and reveals each sites unique narrative.

Filmed and animated between January and March 2004 during a residency at
Centre International D’accueil et D’echanges des Recollets(Paris/FRANCE).
Funded by The City of Paris and the Ministry Foreign Affairs, France.

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

Retropolis

Retropolis, 1999

1999
04:40 minutes
SD single channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Retropolis is a city where the dust never settles and the last few light bulbs are fighting for survival. Transforming London into a modern Sci-Fi landscape collage,  a fast moving journey takes us through destruction and chaos fuelled by an electrically charged soundtrack.