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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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

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

 

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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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

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.

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.