SonarPLANTA 2016

April 27, 2016  19:06  |  M.I.C. News

SonarPLANTA 2016 - SwO magazine

Photo – Sonar (c)

Semiconductor – the duo of British artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt – are explorers of the digital and natural world. Their work uses scientific data from nature (earthquakes, volcanic activity, carbon dioxide air measurements, astral movements, data from satellites), transforming them into pieces that represent this data in a tangible and aesthetic way. Sound, image and expertise work hand in hand, to creatively document the phenomena of the world around us, whether it is natural or affected by human activity.

Semiconductor’s focus on this field has seen them take up artistic residences at the most prestigious scientific institutions around the world. NASA, for example, where they performed “Magnetic Movie” a creative documentary that presents scientific evidence illustrated by abstract animations, with low frequency electromagnetic spectrum sound recordings, as well as Brilliant Noise, a film piece driven by scientific data on solar activity. At the Smithsonian Institute they studied volcanic activity and geological phenomena that represents the formation of the earth into its solid state, creating the work “Worlds in the Making”. Their most recent 2015 residence was at CERN, home to the world’s largest particle accelerator.

Semiconductor have also received a number of awards – including the Samsung Art+ Prize 2012 – and have displayed their works at many specialised fairs and art institutions around the world, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, London’s Royal Academy of Arts, the International Rotterdam Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.

“With this work we want to create an experience of the phenomena of landscape formation through the languages of science that are made to study it. By using seismic data to control the geo models, we are not only playing with the idea that seismic events have shaped and formed the landscape around us, but also that being events that occur beyond a human time frame can only be experienced through scientific mediation of nature. We want to create a work that celebrates modern science on the one hand, that’s a work that’s kind of a technological sublime, creating a lush and rich animation, but we also want the viewer to consider the problem that’s posed by only experiencing nature but only experiencing nature through technological and scientific mediated observations of nature “

“Earthworks” is a piece representing the process of the Earth’s formation and the constant changes that occur in its structure and landscape, from those caused by natural phenomena (earthquakes, erosions) to those produced by the effects of human activity that are defining a new geological era: the Anthropocene.

Five large screens arranged in zig-zag form will create the structure for this multi-channel video installation. “Earthworks” will project high definition animated graphics that represent the movement of the earth’s strata in minute detail: layers fusing and separating in constant motion, driven by seismographic data from phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes and glaciers, converted by the British artist duo into a stream of surround sound.

This seismic data was obtained from the IRIS public archive (Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology) and PLANTA – the industrial headquarters of the Sorigué business group at Balaguer, Lleida with the help of experts in Geotechnology, Faculty of Earth Sciences at the University of Barcelona. Thus, the work also incorporates a series of vivid and more recent data that are directly related to the newly demarcated geological era of the Anthroposcene.

The selected work is produced exclusively for SonarPLANTA by the Sorigué Foundation and is presented to the public annually at Sónar Barcelona.


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