Audemars Piguet’s 4th Art Commission, HALO, a new immersive installation by Semiconductor will be exhibited during Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, the details of which were unveiled recently.
Audemars Piguet Art Commission, conceived and executed by British artist-duo Semiconductor, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, in collaboration with guest curator Mónica Bello, Spanish curator and head of Arts at Geneva-based CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics will be on display at the five-day long event, beginning June 13 .
Each year Audemars Piguet collaborates with a selected curator and emerging or mid-career artist to realise a new artwork that is premiered during one of Art Basel’s three international shows. The aim is to amplify the artist’s unique vision while using the complexity and precision inherent in watchmaking as the artist’s stimuli. This year, Mónica Bello helped select Semiconductor whose work reflects the continuing exploration of these themes, celebrating a dialogue between contemporary art, science, and technology.
Titled HALO, the large-scale, site-specific artwork will present visitors with an artistic interpretation of the ATLAS experiment at CERN. The large-scale, immersive experience will allow viewers to better understand subatomic nature and the complex phenomena taking place at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Artists-in-residence at CERN for two months in 2015, Semiconductor have used raw data from the ATLAS experiment in their work. HALO takes the form of a ten-meter-wide cylinder-shaped structure that is entirely surrounded by vertical piano wires.
Standing four meters tall, the interior of the installation is encircled by a 360-degree screen on which visitors can observe kaleidoscopic data projections generated by a series of slowed-down subatomic particle collisions that ordinarily occur almost at the speed of light. As they hit the screen, the animated data points also trigger small hammers to hit the surrounding piano wires, emitting an all-encompassing vibration that resonates throughout the artwork, to be experienced both acoustically and physically by visitors.
The installation marks the first time an artist works directly with raw data generated by the ATLAS experiment, in what is also the first collaboration between Audemars Piguet and CERN. Semiconductor says, ‘We are interested in the unknown and finding out about who we are as humans through what we don’t know. Science just happens to be the medium through which we do that. We hope visitors to HALO will be humbled by the immersive environment, transcending the scientific aims of the data.’
Following the established approach of the annual Art Commission, the artists were invited to Audemars Piguet’s home in Le Brassus, Switzerland, during the artwork’s development to spend time with the Manufacture’s watchmakers and begin to conceptualise the artwork. During their visit, Semiconductor noted many similarities between the watchmaking workshops and the laboratories at CERN. ‘They’re both operating at the limits of what is physically and humanly possible; the watches on a minuscule scale, where aids are needed to see the parts required, and at CERN, at the other end of the spectrum, where the limitations become how to manoeuvre, install and run experiments at such a large scale.’
Mónica Bello, the guest curator of the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission, says, “This is the first time CERN is featured in an exhibition at Art Basel and I am grateful to Audemars Piguet for the invitation to work together. Ruth and Joe have created an immersive installation that conveys fundamental research with innovative ideas and artistic creativity in an extraordinary artwork.”
Olivier Audemars, Vice President of the Board of Directors, says, ‘It amazes and excites me to see how Semiconductor explore how we see and experience the natural world. They help us to see things differently. And they bring to life the precision and complexity of particle physics and art. As a company, it is fundamental for Audemars Piguet to continue supporting innovative artists like Semiconductor, so we can better understand our own world and our own work.’