13 Sep 2012

Jiggling Atoms

From quarks to quasars; 24 artists explore the world of atoms, galaxies and particle detectors.

Jiggling Atoms is an interdisciplinary science and illustration project exploring the wonders of particle physics. It will culminate in a unique exhibition at the Rag Factory, in London’s East End, on October 1st – 7th. Supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Institute of Physics, 24 artists illustrate the world as seen through the eyes of a scientist. By mixing knitting and black holes, paint and giant particle-detectors, the atomic space collides with the gallery space!

The unique spirit of Jiggling Atoms is based on the collaboration between the artists and research physicists Malte Oppermann (Imperial College London) and Dr. Ben Still (Queen Mary University). Inspired by Nobel-laureate Richard Feynman and his wonderful ability to teach physics to non-scientists, teaching was the starting point of the project. All artists attended a series of lectures and tutorials at Imperial College London, written especially for the project by Malte Oppermann and Jennifer Crouch, with a final lecture by Dr. Ben Still. Exploring a range of topics in particle physics in such depth, the artists were prepared to have their own take on the subject. Fusing art with science, they created games, images, sculptures, comics and infographics for the Jiggling Atoms exhibition event.

It will host the talents of recent graduates as well as established artists, including Sister Arrow, Zeel, Stephen Fowler, Katie Scott, Peter Nencini, Grace Helmer, Jimmy Patrick, Elizabeth Towndrow, Jack Hughes, Bryony Quinn, Peter Rhodes, Rosie Eveleigh and many more. With such diverse creative input the exhibition will provide a truly unique visual experience, enabling visitors to be amazed by the forces that make atoms jiggle!

Jiggling Atoms runs for one week from 1st October, with a private view on Thursday 4th October featuring music, topical talks and drinks. The weekend events (October 6th-7th) boast a fascinating program of activities, including artistic workshops, public lectures and debates – expect to see the likes of Super/Collider, Patrick Stevenson Keating, Mark Pilkington, Adrian Holme, John Butterworth and Radmila Topolovic.

Jiggling Atoms was conceived by Natalie Kay-Thatcher and is co-curated and organised by Rosie Eveleigh, Malte Oppermann, Dr. Ben Still and Jennifer Crouch. With support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and The Institute of Physics Public Engagement Grant, Jiggling Atoms seeks to increase the presence of science in the visual arts, opening a channel of science-oriented communication rarely used in this context or with this intensity.

For more information and a press pack please email: info@jigglingatoms.org.

16 Mar 2012

Feynman Diagrams

For the Camberwell Press Into the Fold exhibition I organised a printmaking workshop as part of Day 6 proceedings. The task was to explain the interactions of particles expressed in Richard Feynman's diagrams. Although they appear aesthetically simple, this is quite the opposite. Each element in the diagram represents an underlying physical phenomena/particle interaction and there are strict rules that govern how they are constructed. Though, for this workshop, we probably bent the rules a little bit in order to express them stylistically and quickly. They were, however, scientifically checked out by our resident physicist, Abby Schlageter, one half of the magnificent super/collider; a not for profit organisation which aims to promote science through the creative industries.

Although once shunned by the more traditional side to the physics community, these diagrams are now standard practice in the way particle interactions are described and visualised by scientists today.

Life-long printmaker and Camberwell illustration tutor Mary Kuper introduced the students to the card-cut method (or Collograph printing as it is sometimes known.) Using pieces of A4 card and a variety of tools, the students ripped, carved and etched into the surface. Every mark can be translated in quite fine detail using the small handmade relief press. Aesthetically expressive and instantaneous, the finished diagrams expose the beauty of Feynman's icons, as well as reflect the way in which he brought them irreverently into the world.

Thanks to Abby Schlageter & Chris Hatherill of super/collider, Mary Kuper and my excellent Camberwell Press team. The brilliant, attentive workshop attendees Isabella Toledo, Grace Helmer, Rosie Eveleigh, Louise Lynn, Helena Davey & Sandra Berghianu who's work you can feast on below.

This was a trial workshop which we will be running again as part of the Jiggling Atoms exhibition later this year. More details and a web presence to follow!