Brilliant Noise - Glorious Soviet Cosmos (Space Soon)

SPACE SOON Space Film Night

The astonishing Russian documentary First on the Moon by Alexei Fedorchenko shakes our understanding of the history of human spaceflight. 

Dream Time by Jane and Louise Wilson shows the lingering power of the Russian space programme in the cash-strapped post-Soviet era.

In Semiconductor’s Brilliant Noise, untouched images of our sun, captured by the SoHo satellite, present an alternative aesthetic of space.
 

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Event

CleanRooms, London

New works by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White, Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa, and Brandon Ballengee challenge our responses to biotechnology and explore its origins and implications

Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, the works in the CleanRooms exhibition ask the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

CleanRooms included major installations by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White and Brandon Ballengee, with performances of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble.

In Gina Czarnecki's Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raises a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreates one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. You, the visitor, fulfil the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

US group Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa present their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduce their transgenic bioproducts. An installation and a video of the performance explains their work and explores the pros and cons of transgenics

Brandon Ballengee's installation From Farm 2 Pharm, created as a participatory project alongside the Oldham exhibition of CleanRooms, traces the history of humankind's struggle for dominance over natural evolutionary forces with a gallery installation of images of domesticated/engineered organisms.

Events programme

The exhibition was part of the extensive programme of associated Darwin Centre Live events including artist residencies by Brandon Ballengee and Michael Carklin and the Working with Wetware forum.

Working with Wetware, 20 June 2002.
This forum explored the work of artists who work directly with living biological systems. Speakers included Steve Kurtz (US), Oron Catts (Aus) from SymbioticA, Marta De Menezes (Portugal), Ruth West (US), Sandy Knapp (UK), Brandon Ballengee (US) and Gina Czarnecki (UK). The forum was chaired by Kodwo Eshun.

GenTerra performances by Critical Art Ensemble, 21-22 June 2002

Biotech drama workshops led by Michael Carklin 7 - 18 July 2002

Catalogue

The CleanRooms catalogue is available to buy online from Cornerhouse Publications

Price £11.95
ISBN 9780953454617
Pages 48, Binding softback, illustrated in colour and b&w
Dimensions 220mm x 200mm, Weight 

Exhibitions

Gallery Oldham, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK

5 October - 30 November 2002

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, UK

20 June - 3 August 2003

Stills, Edinburgh, Scotland

Gina Czarneckis's Silvers Alter was also show as part of the Designer Bodies: The Future Of Human Genetics exhibition at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3 April - 6 June 2004

 

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Project
Exhibition

CleanRooms, Oldham

New works by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White and Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa challenge our responses to biotechnology: a science often perceived as secretive and sinister.

Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, the works in the CleanRooms exhibition asked the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

CleanRooms included major installations by Gina Czarnecki and Neal White, and performances of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble.

In Gina Czarnecki's Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raised a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreated one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. The visitor fulfilled the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

US group Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa presented their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduced their transgenic bioproducts. An installation and a video of the performance explained their work and explores the pros and cons of transgenics

Artists in Residence

The exhibition at Oldham was accompanied by an extensive programme of educational and interpretative events, including artist residencies by Ruth Ben Tovim and Brandon Ballengee, Saturday workshops for children, talks and demonstrations. New York artist Brandon Ballengee worked with local unemployed young people to explore the origin, growth and contemporary practice of genetic engineering. From visits to local farms, pet stores, parks and markets, Ballengee and his collaborators traced the history of humankind's struggle for dominance over natural evolutionary forces, creating a gallery and on-line installation from images of domesticated and engineered organisms, titled From Farm 2 Pharm.

Catalogue

The CleanRooms catalogue is available to buy online from Cornerhouse Publications

Price £11.95
ISBN 9780953454617
Pages 48
Binding soft back
illustrated in colour and b&w
Dimensions 220mm x 200mm
Weight 190g

 

Exhibitions

Gallery Oldham, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK
5 October - 30 November 2002

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, UK
20 June - 3 August 2003

Stills, Edinburgh, Scotland
Gina Czarneckis's Silvers Alter was also shown as part of the Designer Bodies: The Future Of Human Genetics exhibition
3 April - 6 June 2004

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Astro Black Morphologies, Flow Motion

Immersive sound and image installation using transformed x-ray data from a black hole

Astro Black Morphologies is an immersive dub, techno, and avant garde electronic sound and image installation and sound performance, created using transformed x-ray data from the black hole Cygnus-XI

In 2002, scientist Phil Uttley at the University of Southampton announced that data readings of X-ray detritus from black hole Cygnus X-1 showed variations which were implicitly musical in structure.

Working with Uttley and astronomer Tim O’Brien from Jodrell Bank Observatory, artists and musicians Flow Motion (Anna Piva and Eddie George) used X-ray data gathered by NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite and, using technologies and techniques for subtracting, reshaping, and resounding sound sources particular to granular synthesis, Dub and electronica, Flow Motion have made audible the music of black hole Cygnus X-1. With generative design by Adrian Ward, the resulting installations transform Cygnus X-1’s data into a multi-sensory experience of colour, light and sound.

A sound performance by Flow Motion took place at the Dana Centre on 8 June 2005

The discussion event Deep Space Poetics was held at the Dana Centre on 16 June 2005 with Eddie George and Anna Piva (Flow Motion), astronomer Tim O'Brien and Doug Vakosh from SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), chaired by Nicola Triscott.

Astro Black Morphologies was funded by Arts Council England and organised by The Arts Catalyst in association with John Hansard Gallery - with thanks to SCAN.

Links

The Arts Catalyst

Arts Council England

SCAN

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2nd International Artists Airshow

Three years after the first Artists Airshow, a day of art and flying in and around Europe's largest wind tunnel at Farnborough, the 2nd International Artists Airshow took place at Gunpowder Park.

The 2nd International Artists Airshow reflected both the explosive and ephemeral nature of Gunpowder Park and investigated the artists' almost impossible dream of flight.
Two performance works started the day: Ben Blakeborough's
Winged Self was a flying platform designed and flown by the artist, then, in Eagle, Ruth Maclennan encouraged a trained eagle to document the moving public on the ground. In Gunpowder Park's dense woodland, Sonia Khurana's video installation Bird explored the possibility of flight through the constraints of the human body, and Hehe's Smoking Lamp responded to the direct pollution caused by cigarette smoke, whilst on a nearby hill their Air De Londres was an observation point from which people viewed and listened to the polluted skies over London. In the field station, Rachel Chapman, in her project Mapping the Air, collected spores from visitors clothing throughout the day. By examining airborne spores, the trajectory of a person's journey and their activities were be traced.
The day's finale was Anne Bean, Mark Anderson, Nick Sales (UK)'s Black Mass, in which they made a large scale pyrotechnic work which launched a sky bourne sculptural mass of dense black smoke which aimed to block out the sun.
Late in the evening, following the 'Aesthetics of Impossibility' symposium, visitors went on a night field trip to view the insects attracted by Brandon Ballengee's ultra-violet Love Motels for Insects.
The 2nd International Artists Airshow was a collaboration between The Arts Catalyst and Gunpowder Park.

Artists' Projects

Winged Self, Ben Blakeborough (Australia)
Blakeborough has been training himself to fly 'winged self' for several years, a real flying platform that hovered according to the artist's body movements.
"The theory of the Winged Self has developed from concepts elucidated by Charles Zimmerman in the 1950s. His chief concept was simple; every human possesses the necessary built in balance and reflex control within the middle ear, nerves and muscular system - if man could create a controlled, powerful downward column of thrust below his feet, he could easily balance and hover in one place. By leaning in the direction one wanted to travel, one could tilt the thrust vector and hence move in that direction. Many novel and ingenious concepts from this period were funded by defence budgets but the findings and aircraft eventually fell by the wayside. Thankfully Zimmerman’s ideas of the free flying self have survived due to the documentation of his ideas and flying apparatus." Ben Blakeborough


Eagle, Ruth Maclennan (UK)
Mclennan encouraged a trained eagle to document the moving public on the ground, with the results transmitted live on screen. Eagle looks at the communication between hunter and eagle, while the audience is in a strange position as both witness of the flight, and object viewed by the ‘eagle-camera’. The eagle plays the role of a machine (a flying camera), while still retaining the autonomous will of a wild bird of prey.
"Eagle is an ongoing art project that explores the symbolism and experience of the co-operation between birds of prey and humans, in particular the relationship of eagle hunter to trained eagle which originated in Central Asian nomadic cultures. Falconry is a dance of death: a ritual that represents the complex interdependence of humans and animals. In eagle hunting, the eagle stands in for the human hunter, the human killer. This surrogate role is the sign of culture, of the ritualisation of death.”


Bird, Sonia Khurana (India)
Khurana’s video installation was constructed in Gunpowder Park’s dense woodland, in a small shed, similar to those used for bird hides, as a site specific work that explored the possibility of flight through the constraints of the human body.
“Bird is about being a body. It is about an encounter with failed flight. It is an investigation of two kinds of limitations: the body confronting its own flesh and the forces of gravity, and a discrete questioning of accounts of the body which overlook sexual difference.”


Air De Londres and Smoking Lamp, Hehe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen, France)
Hehe take one step beyond the notion of flight by looking at the air itself and its quality. Continuing with a project started in Paris using public air-monitoring equipment, they utilised an automated monitoring station not far from Gunpowder Park, in Ponder's End in Enfield, that measures ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). At Gunpowder Park they made an observation point where people viewed and listened to the 'coloured skies' over London. Smoking Lamp was an interactive installation which responded to the direct pollution caused by cigarette smoke, which also marked the end of smoking in public in England on 1 July 2007.


Black Mass, Anne Bean, Mark Anderson, Nick Sales (UK)
Following on from a massive 'sky drawing' created for Artists Airshow 1 with adapted parachute rockets, a co-ordinated detonation device and 100m ribbons, Bean, Anderson and Sales were commissioned to make a large scale pyrotechnic work which reflected the history of munitions manufacture at Gunpowder Park and launched a sky bourne sculptural mass of dense black smoke which aimed to block out the sun.


Mapping the Air, Rachel Chapman (UK)
Chapman set up a mobile "spore extraction laboratory" where spores were collected from visitors clothing throughout the day. By examining airborne spores that collect on skin, hair, clothing the trajectory of a person's journey and their activities can be traced, revealing the ecology of the environment that person has passed through – sometimes quite specifically. Collating what is collected from a set of people on a given day generates a kind of ecological 'map' of the air for that particular day, interrelated to the topography of land below.

Rachel Chapman's Mapping the Air

Links to artists' websites:

HeHe
Anne Bean
Rachel Chapman
Ruth Maclennan

Support

Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England, the Henry Moore Foundation, and ANAT

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Sounds of Space, Kate Tierney residency

Kate Tierney's investigation of sounds of deep space at the Centre for Astrophysics & Planetary Science, University of Kent

Kate Tierney is a multimedia artist specialising in sound and its perception. Her artwork responds to and interprets environments and encourages interaction, experimenting with the physical nature of sound. With a background in electronics, engineering, computing and sound design, Kate’s projects often include the design/build of crucial hardware and software.

The research of the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS) focuses on the origin and evolution of galaxies; the birth of stars; astrochemistry; asteroid and cometary impacts on planets; spacecraft damage; and detector development. CAPS is heavily involved in several major astronomical missions, and the recent Huygens probe to Titan was built at Kent.

Kate's residency involved a practical, aesthetic and intellectual exploration of the following questions:

1. As scientists have extended the normal range of perception to show visual images of deep space, how can sound in space (which exists, but is too tenuous to be heard with ears) be similarly represented?

2. How can the dynamism & violence of the universe be revealed, including that of the immediate environment of Earth? How can sound be used to do this?

3. How do we filter out background noise, both in real life & in astronomy? 

Her residency included a trip to attend an observing run at Subaru telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

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Creative Arts Project: Astro Black Morphologies

Flow Motion Astro Black Morpholoties schools project

Working in partnership with Highfield Primary and Bassett Green Primary School, the John Hansard Gallery provided young pupils with the opportunity to participate in a large scale art-science project, based on its recent exhibition, Astro Black Morphologies. The project, lasting ten days, led over 300 children, between the ages of 4 and 11, on a journey through outer space. The children started their journey by exploring the innovative, multi-sensory exhibition of sound and visual transformation of Black Hole data at the John Hansard Gallery. Through open discussion, the young pupils considered how art and science complement each another before creating their own art-science work.

Support

Supported by the expertise of Museum Studies, Physics and Astronomy/Astrophysics student volunteers from the University of Southampton, artist Ratna Begum worked with pupils to depict designated themes of the solar system on 8ft tall panels. A total of 15 wall panels were designed by the pupils to display in their schools. The panels, once linked together, materialized into one large scale painting of Earth to the edge of the Universe!

Funded by

This project was financially supported by a Community Fellowship grant (made possible by the Higher Education Active Community Fund).

 

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The Lab

An interdisciplinary arts-science curriculum project

Teachers days, artists' training and workshops for students took place during the 2004/5 school year. The artists worked within three main themes, Transformation: Sound and Electronics, The Changing Nature of Materials and (Un)Natural Selection: biodiversity to biotechnology.

The artists:

Flow Motion (Anna Piva and Eddie George) worked with pupils to record and process sounds from their environment. They created loops and rhythms, used multi-track and mix. The final piece, interspersed with moments of melody, driving rhythm and rap, contained intensely personal voices and sounded astonishingly professional.

Kate Tierney worked with pupils using stills camera and video. Using reflection as a theme, the pupils began to manipulate images using Photoshop and Flash. The finished piece brought together still and video images and animated text and showed a budding awareness and obvious delight in abstract visual language. A presentation/installation which combined the visuals from Kate’s workshop with the sound from Flow Motion’s workshop was screened at the end of the three days.

Lucy Stockton-Smith’s workshops were designed to encourage the pupils to explore and identify the structure and function of organic materials. They made slides of organic materials which they projected large scale and used as a basis for drawings and prints. The workshops were a hotbed of fervent discussion and activities throughout the two days.

Sally Hampson’s workshops were also designed to explore and identify the structure of organisms. The pupils used close observation to create beautiful, finely detailed lifelike drawings and sculptures. The concept of the museum was also explored imaginatively.

Siobhan O’Neill’s workshops used drama and storytelling to explore the role that genetics and culture play in defining what makes us unique and what similarities we share. Over the two days each pupil created a self-portrait with sound, image and text that showed a growing expansive awareness of self.

Tony Hall’s workshops explored cymatics, patterns in liquids caused by sound. Pupils devised their own experiments with household liquids and foodstuffs to create choreographies of changing patterns, which they captured with drawings, microscopic images and short digital videos.

Marcus Ahlers worked with the pupils to build Solar Puddles and Solar Cells, and explored their practical applications. A Solar Puddle, consisting of a shallow pool of water in the earth contained by layers of plastic tarp and insulated from below with natural materials, pasteurises water. The Solar Cell, built from junk materials such as plastic bottles and tubing, utilizes natural dyes extracted from plants and converts solar energy into electrical energy.

Artist Luke Jerram held workshops for 11 year olds about to start in Year 7 at Castle Community School as part of a summer school. The children made hot air balloons and seacraft.

Partnership:

Castle Community School, Creative Partnerships Kent.

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Near Earth: A Week of Space Creation

A week of Space Creation at the Roundhouse, London, with artists and scientists took 100 young people on a journey that explored space through digital photography, animation, sound and music, drama and the performing arts. Part of SPACE SOON.

Workshops were led by Semiconductor, Luke Jerram, Kate Tierney, Tony Hall, Trevor Mathison, Mat Fox, Marcus Ahlers, Hilary Westlake and Morag Wightman, with the input of scientists Chris Welch, Kevin Fong and Mark Lythgoe.

Part of the international art and space event Space Soon.

Space Animation

Led by Semiconductor - animation artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhadt - participants took snapshots produced from satelites orbiting the earth and explored how to create time-lapse digital animation sequences.

Space Digital Film & Photography

Led by arist Luke Jerram, participants explored the tricks of film and photography and learned how experts manipulate images from space. 

Space Radio

Led by artists Kate Tierney and Antony Hall, participants worked to decode and transmit sound from space.

Space Music 1 - Recorded

Led by musician Trevor Mathison, participants experimented with panning, overlaps, fades, dissolves, delay and reverbs to record their journey to space.

Space Music 2 - Live

Led by Mat Fox. Participants joined an out-of-this world band and created some cosmic sounds and recorded their own live sessions.

Exploring Energy

Led by Marcus Ahlers, participants collected electricity from sunlight, built hydrogen fuel cells and became energy technologists of the future.

Space Drama

Led by theatre maker ilary Westlake. Participants explored outer space themes using iconic music and images and created a striking theatrical performance.

Space Movement

Led by dancer Morag Wightman. Participants worked suspended off the floor and explored aerial dance with Morag Wightman, one of the very few dancers to experience zero gravity first hand, to create a new piece exploring gravity.

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