[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Ian Clothier — Light seen and unseen, Moonlight and Higgs boson inverted

Artist Statement

Light seen and unseen was created specifically for ISEA2019 and involved scanning scientific visualizations from various light wavelengths – at nonvisible, UV, visible and infrared wavelengths. Visualizations used were of a photon shower from the Veritas Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope Array in Arizona; a solar prominence eruption recorded on May 3rd 2013 at UV wavelengths; a Hubble image of the Serpens constellation of the Eagle Nebula giving birth to new stars, at visible light wavelengths; and an image of the nebula NCG2174 at infra-red wave-lengths. These were sonified and animation was generated from the audio.
Moonlight is based on a high resolution image of a painting on the theme of phases of the moon by Maori artist WharehokaSmith. The relationship of the sun, the moon and Earth is of particular interest and concern to indigenous peoples and WharehokaSmith provided an abstract image where the phases are discernible in a way that is also reminiscent of traditional kowhaiwhai (painted rafter decoration) forms. This is the core visual data subjected to algorithmic regimes to create the audio video art work.
Higgs Boson Inverted is an expression of non-light. Perhaps the most significant development in quantum theory in recent times has been the confirmation of the Higgs Boson in a 2013 experiment on the CERN Large Hadron Collider by Cambridge University. Vibrations in the Higgs Field gives rise to the Higgs Boson, which is responsible for the mass of particles. As light is massless, the Higgs Boson plays no role in light so the video audio work resulting from scanning the Cambridge University data visualization of the experiment, was subjected to one further step: the colour inversion of the video where red became green, blue became orange et al – a transformation based on the complementaries of the colour wheel.

  • Ian Clothier is an electronic artist, curator, Director of Creative Research at Inter create and part time senior academic at WITT New Zealand. A hybrid Polynesian, his DNA traces through Te Wai Pounamu (South Island, New Zealand), Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti and Polynesian culture to Lapita; while other lines trace back through the Isle of Man, England, the Shetland Islands and Nordic countries. A long term interest in data and science has led to recently using scientific data as core content for audio-video art works. Scanned data visualizations from bubble chambers, visualizations of the universe and Large Hadron Collider experiments are converted to audio. This is compiled with related audio to make a soundtrack; the soundtrack is then visualized algorithmically. Pion decay was exhibited at Diffrazione Festival Florence in 2016 and Higgs boson confirmation at the University of Hull in 2017. ISEA2019 is his sixth ISEA exhibition.  ianclothier.com   vimeo.com/ianclothier