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Group shot outside the Cyrogenic Test Facility

CERN: January 2020


2 student posing in tunnel at CERN

 

Blackboard maths equations

CERN has been a place of pilgrimage for scientists from around the world since 1954 and, more recently, they have been joined by artists.  A group of over twenty MAAS colleagues were privileged to spend four days in the company of our hosts, Michael Hoch and Andy Charalambous, exploring the site of the vast and the minuscule.  We are grateful to them and to all the others who supported them in making the trip such a success.

Students talking Physics

talking about the tunnel

Happy students in tunnel at CERN


Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva on the way in..

Presentation in the earliest particle accelerator at CERN

Presentation in the earliest particle accelerator at CERN

Michael Hoch, our guide on site

Michael Hoch, our guide on site

Where anti-matter was first observed

Where anti-matter was first observed – for the tiniest fraction of a second

Outside the exhibition centre...

Outside the public exhibition centre…

...and part of the exhibition inside

…and part of the ‘Star Trek’ exhibition inside

Exploring a section of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) re-constructed above ground

Exploring a section of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) re-constructed above ground

It's not all high tech though...a gift from the Indian government

It’s not all high tech though.  A gift from the Indian government

Michael leads us down 100m to the Compact Muon Solonoid Detector (CMS)

Michael leads us down 100m to the Compact Muon Solonoid Detector (CMS)

Selfie central in front of CMS where the Higgs Boson was discovered!

Selfie central in front of CMS where the Higgs Boson was discovered!

The bank of detectors surrounding the LHC where protons collide

The bank of detectors surrounding the LHC where protons collide

Andy has been associated with CERN for many years. Here he poses with his work at the CMS site

Andy has been associated with CERN for many years. Here he poses with his work at the CMS site

Our visit was rounded off with a performance riffing on science vs belief at the IdeasSquare

Our visit was rounded off with a performance riffing on science vs belief at the IdeasSquare

All photographs © Phil Barton 2020


      And the last word goes to Molly Mcleod responding to the trip in words and images:

Breath holding, brain drain. 
Is a particle an object or an event? Your perception does not effect their behaviour. 
Contact inhibition, vague but exciting.
Strip away the layers to find the primordial mass. 

Cloud over factory roof; blue skyMetal staircase up the side of a grey wallThree chimneys emitting white smoke into a blue sky
 

Various artworks against a backdrop of a giant machinery.

CERN travelling exhibition programme

Following the annual research study trip to CERN in January 2019, a series of international exhibits, sponsored by CERN across Europe, featured works by MA Art and Science artists. Andy Charalambous, a longtime CERN collaborator and Visiting Tutor on MA Art and Science, spearheaded the exhibitions in coordination with Michael Hoch of Art@CMS. This outreach initiative of the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, has provided numerous opportunities for MA Art and Science students across the continent.
 
From May to November 2019, our artists joined colleagues from across Europe in a series of exhibits, including in Geneva, Switzerland, at CERN headquarters; in Ghent, Belgium, at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK); and in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the Sofia Tech Park.
 
Curated by MA Art and Science students, the exhibits provided exceptional opportunities for collaboration with scientists and fellow artists, exposure to broader arts communities in Europe, and the chance to build long-term relationships going forward.
 
Abstract brown poster with white words
Origin Poetics poster

Exhibition, CERN headquarters, July 2019. Hannah Brown’s work in foreground.

CERN-8
Exhibition space at KASK building in Ghent. Diane Wingate’s work in the foreground : Disregard # 3- 2019, Screen print on paper , 70 x 100cm.

Andy Charalambous’s work in foreground.

CSM Art & Science student and alumni exhibition at CERN during the Open Days event at the CMS experiment. Pictured in foreground, Mariana Heilmann’s work from her Energy Series – biro and acrylic on wooden panel.

Exhibition at Sophia. Yang Li’s work in foreground: Artificial Amber.
ORIGIN POETICS “Zwarte Zaal”,  Exhibition, KASK, Ghent, July 2019 (Lois Bentley’s triangular sculpture: Magnetic Resonance – triangulated sheet steel, collaged UV print, neodymium magnets.

CERN : Highlights and Reflections

In mid January of 2019 a group of over 20 MA Art and Science students made their way to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Famous for its discovery of the Higgs Boson to the World Wide Web, and home to the Large Hadron Collider. From learning about these discoveries, to seeing where they were created, and for a number of days being a part of the daily life of the CERN community… here tells a number of personal highlights and reflections from the journey. 

Charlotte Bolster

From the Large Hadron Collider to Hadron therapy.

CERN doesn’t just do ‘science for science sake’. As the senior Advisor for Medical Applications, Manjit Dosanjh works to translate the developments taking place into improvements in cancer care.

In a fortuitous change to our schedule we were privileged to join a lecture she was hosting, in which she communicated the historical advancements in radiotherapy, and the promise of hadron therapy, i.e. using hadrons accelerated through the same principles as used in the LHC.

Most poignantly, she spoke of global disparity in access to radiotherapy, and her ambition to lead the way in developing radiation therapy solutions ‘in situations where the power supply is unreliable, the climate is harsh or communications are poor’.  Inspired by her words, several of us are intending to meet with her again and explore how we might contribute to her dream by using our art practice to direct attention to this need. 

Mariana Heilmann

One of the aspects of CERN that struck me the most was the power of collective human ambition. In my pursuit to explore scale, interconnectivity and humanity’s place in that spectrum, visiting CERN was a valuable opportunity to see humankind at its most inventive, curious and expansive.  Learning about CERN’s colossal experiments and their invention of the World Wide Web was a great contribution to my research.

I am hugely grateful to Andy for having organised this trip as well as to Michael & team for the incredibly warm welcome and thorough insight into CERN. I’m also really grateful to Helen who was not only very inspiring, but very generous with her advice and time. It was a fantastic privilege to be there and to be invited to get involved in art@CMS. 

Last but not least, I loved every moment of spending time with our wonderful group as well as getting to know our Vienna fellows.

Hannah Pratt

CERN is an incredible place, not just in location but the also the whole spirit of collaboration to make the world better though science. As an artist I am excited to be able to access and interact with the scientists and engage with the wide range of research happening at CERN. 

Catherine Herbert

What I loved about CERN – and what represents how I now understand particle physics (and science in general), was the cloud chamber workshop because it made otherwise invisible particles – visible. Something else that’s emblematic – for me – of science, is that the existence of dark matter is only apparent because of how other matter behaves. Likewise, the Higgs Boson is proven indirectly because two photons are predicted to be what it decays into. Overall, CERN seems to be about being both thorough and uncertain at the same time. as the undetectable appears to appear in highly contrived experiments.

Diane Wingate

My recent trip to CERN has taught me a lot about the fundamental ideals behind scientific experimentation. The concept that it is acceptable not to know why we do something and the significance of it, combined with the belief that to move forward in technology and life it is not enough to simply perfect the things we know, we need to explore what we don’t know.

Lois Bentley

Here you have my highlights, plus some words about TATE. The latter is in response to Michael asking for “Ideas generated by the visit and artworks/exhibitions that happen as a result”

My highlights are:

  • The proportional scale: For example 3 mg of Hydrogen gas provide the raw material for, (was it) a year of experimentation. Tiny particles blasted around within giant machines(accelerators). A tiny amount of matter, yet a massive amount of electricity to power the 72MW “Total Energy CERN” was showing on a control monitor
  • The scale and construction of the detectors -vibrant colours and tessellated pattern of symmetry in construction
  • The way the words sound – Cyclo Synchrotron, Scintillator ALICE A Large Ion Collider Experiment, Compact Muon Solenoid. Immediately playful onomatopoeia.

Within one day of returning – we collaborated to create an exhibition at one of Europe’s most prestigious art galleries, Tate Modern. The exhibition was in the Tate Exchange space, where artists show their work in order to exchange ideas with the public. 

We used schoolroom technical aesthetic of blackboard – filled it with photographs, formuli, diagrams and a large question mark. We wrote an open letter to the public “To Whom It May Con-CERN” and invited their response. We generated public engagement works including a radiation wall made of lead, 3D printed plastic and constructed in wood. We created a large scale floor map of CERN’s experiments and major accelerators and detectors.

Where will this lead? … All the students are invited back to CERN for more in depth research or to explore newly inspired creative ideas. MAAS graduate Helen Cawley met up with the students at CERN. She made the same journey two years previous and has now been working along side scientists and researchers on the CLOUD project for approximately the last 3 months. 

CSM X CMS: Entangled

CSM X CMS: Entangled | 14 – 17 June | MA Art and Science 2017

 

CSM X CMS: Entangled 

DATES: Wed 14 – Sat 17 June 2017

LOCATION: Four Corners Gallery, London, 121 Roman Road, E2 0QN, Bethnal Green

OPENING TIMES: Wed to Sat | 10.00 – 18.00

PRIVATE VIEW: Thurs 15 June | 18.00 – 20.30

A3-high res-CRN

Placing themselves firmly at the centre of contemporary Art and Science discourse, nineteen artists from Central Saint Martins respond to their December 2016 visit to CERN and the CMS detector in their exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, London, June 14-17, 2017. The striking array of work confirms that when creative minds grasp universal concepts, at the core of our material understanding of the universe, you can expect the unexpected.

About the Exhibition

Sculpture, film, printmaking, sound and art installations are just some of the outcomes from reflections on their surprising discoveries from the trip, including a rare look at the inside of the CMS detector experiment, particles in cloud chambers that may help us understand climate change, and the baffling quantity and randomness of data produced to confirm minute particle reactions.

Additionally, there is the memorable impression of the deeper social context of the institution itself. Often in parallel with what drives artists, scientists are striving to grasp the unknown and offer their discoveries to humanity in an ethos of sharing and openness. Artists recognise the exhilaration of new perspectives relating to what we are made of and, also seek to make fresh connections and intuitive leaps in understanding.

In preparation for the exhibition, between 8-11 May a number of the artists returned to CERN for further research and collaboration with the physicists. During the exhibition workshops, artist talks and other activities will take place in the gallery space. We are grateful to CMS and art@cms for making our visits possible.

 

Participating Artists

Allison Barclay-Michaels, Stephen Bennett, Joshua Bourke, Amy Knight, Reggy Liu, Maria Macc, Fiona Morf, Jill Mueller, Priya Odedra, Helen O’Donoghue, Yun Peng, Lisa Pettibone, Heather Scott, Hannah Scott, Nicolas Strappini, Olga Suchanova, Bekk Wells, Victoria Westerman and guest artist Andy Charalambous (CSM lecturer and CERN consultant in association with Imperial College, London)