artworks

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.

Play of Light

Play of Light, 2014, video documentation

2014
site specific two-channel moving image work
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

Play of Light is a site specific, two channel moving image installation commissioned for the newly renovated brutalist Chichester Festival Theatre. Incidental in nature, this art work explores Moya and Powell’s architectural vision through animated sequences of projected light and shadows.

The shadow sequences move slowly but perceptibly as if cast by time-lapse animations of the sun or passing vehicles. As the light source moves, layers of the architecture interact and shift across each other, producing animated shadows. Caused by the phenomena of motion parallax they abstract the architecture, to create new forms and shifting patterns. The slow motion of the shadows allow for contemplation of these choreographies, as they morph and merge to reveal the natural rhythms of the architecture.

Working with a digital architectural model of Chichester Festival Theatre, Semiconductor created an artificial sun, which they animated to cast time-lapse shadows through the building. By physically deconstructing the model into many scenes, they have created multiple time-lapse sequences, which offer new and familiar viewpoints through the building, encouraging a reconsideration of the architectures formal aspects.

Motion introduces a new dimension to the architectural stage, literally bringing the building to life. By transforming the enclosed static condition of architecture to one which is open and dynamic, Semiconductor have made a kinetic sculpture on an architectural scale, which alters our experience of the building.

Optical nuances of light have been mimicked to create an authentic play of shadow and light; subtle phenomena such as blurring, bleeding and visual noise have been employed to play to the eyes sensitivities. Colours within the fabric of the building have been mirrored in the work and expanded on as a play on theatrical stage lighting: the building has become performer.

The digitally animated shadows are projected onto two interior rough concrete walls, which mirror each other. Each wall has its own distinct projection which explores each scene from a differing angle. The shadows appear as if they are being cast in situ: echoing elements of the surrounding environment, they fall incidentally on the walls.

Play of Light was commissioned by Chichester Festival Theatre, UK.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

 

Mini-Epoch Series

Mini-Epoch Series (still), 2003

2003
x5 01:00 minute works
SD installation
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.

The Mini-Epoch Series is found animations of urban planning during the next 2000 years. Landscaping of cities yet to be conceived.

Site specific installation at Palazzo Zenobio, Venice Biennale 2003.
Each of the scenes were installed on 7″ widescreen LCD screens.
Semiconductor worked with Richard Wentworth in a protégé/mentor relationship and both installed art works for ‘Absolut Generations’ in room six of the Palazzo Zenobio.