Artist duo semiconductor are bringing an intergalactic experience to Art Basel with Halo
The Audemars Piguet Art Commission titled visualizes data from nuclear research organization CERN
There are worlds unimaginable that exist in interstellar realms. Artist duo Semiconductor are bringing them down to Earth this year at Art Base in Basel, for the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission. Halo also notably marks the first-time raw data from CERN has ever been reinterpreted and applied within an artwork.
As artists in residence at nuclear research organization CERN in Geneva, British-born Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt of Semiconductor mined the stars to collect a tapestry of information. For Halo, which will debut on June 13, they translated the metadata taken from the ATLAS experiment and are using it to inform an audio-visual immersive experience. With data from the Large Hadron Colliders, available at CERN’s Geneva campus, researchers can explore the limits of particle physics; Semiconductor’s work commissioned by Audemars Piguet offers an immersive installation through which visitors can experience the subatomic collisions from the experiment, slowed down and projected within a ten-meter-wide cylindrical darkroom.
'The work started with thinking about the data that the scientists collect, the form that takes, and how it could be installed in a way to experience it, which still stays true to its natural form,’ the duo told Art Basel. 'Each event that you observe is where two particles have collided and then subsequent particles emerge. One of these events happens close to the speed of light. We have worked with 60 of these events and then hugely slowed them down so that we can experience them.’
They continued: 'Scientists always tell us that these types of collisions would likely to have occurred at the Big Bang, when there were the types of speeds necessary for particles to collide and emerge in this way. We like the idea that we are placing the viewer at the very beginning of the universe, a time that is impossible to imagine.'
CERN’s Mónica Bello was selected by Audemars Piguet as this year’s guest curator for the Art Commission. As Curator and Head of Arts at CERN, Bello acts as the natural conduit between scientific exploration and artistic expression; she links the leading laboratories at CERN with cultural institutions and organizations such as Audemars Piguet.
Halo is the 4th Art Commission from Audemars Piguet. The commission pairs a curator with an emerging or mid-career artist to expand on their practice with the complexity and precision for which Audemars Piguet’s watches are known. Previous artists include Robin Meier, for his delicate examination of biological systems and the harmony in which they exist, Sun Xun, who reimagined the centuries-old technique of woodblock printing in a 3D digital animated film, and Lars Jan, who presented a large-scale, seaside installation that demonstrated the oscillating conflict between an individual’s state of meditation and that of crisis.