Science

20 Hz, 2011

20 Hz observes a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Working with data collected from the CARISMA radio array and interpreted as audio, we hear tweeting and rumbles caused by incoming solar wind, captured at the frequency of 20 Hertz. Generated directly by the sound, tangible and sculptural forms emerge suggestive of scientific visualisations. As different frequencies interact both visually and aurally, complex patterns emerge to create interference phenomena that probe the limits of our perception.

For 200 Nanowebbers, Semiconductor have created a molecular web that is generated by Double Adaptor's live soundtrack. Using custom-made scripting, the melodies and rhythms spawn a nano scale environment that shifts and contorts to the audios resonances. Layers of energetic hand drawn animations, play over the simplest of vector shapes that form atomic scale associations. As the landscape flickers into existence by the light of trapped electron particles, substructures begin to take shape and resemble crystalline substances.

An old Russian Akula submarine, armed with ballistic nuclear missiles, is assigned a new captain. But Captain Pavel seems to care very little for Navy protocol. In fact, he feels the crew’s jobs are a waste of time, preferring to lead discussions about spiritual matters. The Captain dresses in a cassock and grows a long beard. His favorite pastime is shamanic drumming, which even the confused American’s can hear from the ship.

“Mining an ironic vein by turning technology against itself, AlienNATION undercuts the sociological ramifications of modern living. It is an astounding compendium of sci-fi images, textbook diagrams, special effects, and studio props, which together build multiple readings of the alien, the mysterious, and the obscure in American culture.

Presented as a fictional documentary, the sound film All the Time in The World sees the millions of years that have shaped and formed the land, played out at the speed of sound.

Semiconductor have reanimated Northumbria's epic landscape using data recordings from the archives at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. This data of local and distant seismic disturbances has been converted to sound and used to reveal and bring to life the constantly shifting geography around us.

Ant paths sketch a fading pheromonal portrait of a colony.

This title is only available on Soft Science.

 

This absurdist, microscopic film noir follows the activities of an underground network of ill people, desperate to create alternative methods of self-care in a world where natural resources are disappearing. While examining the meaning of health, disease, and well-being in the post-industrial world, Apple Grown In Wind Tunnel imagines the development of a culture at the margins, linked by illicit radio broadcasts, toxic waste sites, the highway, and ultimately by the overwhelming desire to find a cure.

Atomic Ed & the Black Hole tells the story of a scientist-turned-atomic junk collector known as Atomic Ed. More than 30 years ago, Ed quit his job making “better” atomic bombs and he began collecting what he calls “nuclear waste,” non-radioactive high-tech discards from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. As the self-appointed curator of an unofficial museum of the nuclear age called “The Black Hole,” Atomic Ed reveals and preserves a history of government waste that was literally thrown in a trash heap.

Spanish subtitled version available.

Black Rain is sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO. Here we see the HI (Heliospheric Imager) visual data as it tracks interplanetary space for solar wind and CME's (coronal mass ejections) heading towards Earth.

Brilliant Noise takes us into the data vaults of solar astronomy. After sifting through hundreds of thousands of computer files made accessible via open access archives, Semiconductor have brought together some of the sun's finest unseen moments. These images have been kept in their most raw form, revealing the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise. This black and white grainy quality is routinely cleaned up by NASA, usually hiding the processes and mechanics in action behind the capturing procedure.

Detour de Force presents the world of thoughtographer Ted Serios, a charismatic Chicago bell hop who, in the mid-1960’s produced hundreds of Polaroid images from his mind. Constructed from 16mm documentation of Serios’s sessions and audio recordings of Serios speaking with Dr. Jule Eisenbud, the Denver psychiatrist who championed his abilities, the film is more ethnography than biography, portraying the social and scientific environments in which Serios thrived.

By asking a group of space physicists the unanswerable, Semiconductor reveal the hidden motivations driving scientists to the outer limits of human knowledge. In an attempt to find meaning within the question, they open a Pandora's Box of limitations within science itself, revealing their own philosophical confines. Issues of faith, medicine and the laws of matter are raised to illustrate the infinitely complex universe we live in.

Earthmoves is a continuation of Semiconductor's exploration into how unseen forces affect the fabric of our world.  The limits of human perception are exposed, revealing a world which is unstable and in a constant state of animation as the forces of acoustic waves come into play on our surroundings.    

Heliocentric uses timelapse photography and astronomical tracking to plot the sun's trajectory across a series of landscapes. The entire environment seems to pan past the camera whilst the sun stays in the center of each frame, enabling us to gauge the earth's rotation and orbit around the sun. As the sun's light becomes disrupted by passing weather conditions and the environment through which we encounter it, it audibly plays them as if it were a stylus.

How Little We Know of Our Neighbours is an experimental documentary about Britain's Mass Observation Movement and its relationship to contemporary issues regarding surveillance, public self-disclosure, and privacy. At its center is a look at the multiple roles cameras have played in public space, starting in the 1880's, when the introduction of the hand-held camera brought photography out of the studio and into the street. For the first time one could be photographed casually in public without knowledge or consent.

The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries. All action takes place around NASA's Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley, to recordings of space scientists describing their discoveries. Actual VLF audio recordings control the evolution of the fields as they delve into our inaudible surroundings, revealing recurrent 'whistlers' produced by fleeting electrons. Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?

A distinguished looking man (performance artist Richard Layzell) is apparently trapped in an ever changing void of colour, locked in a power play with a perversely operated camera. A mute, caged, charismatic TV presenter he is by turns charming, menacing, educational, confused. At times he appears to have great powers. A voiceover tells us extraordinary things — how this man is special — the first man to 'have a baby'. Hallucinogenic flash-frames punctuate the colour field to give us a view of his world's disturbing and alien futuristic logic.

Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin retrace the journey of two 18th-century astronomers tasked with determining the true length of the meter. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, The Measures explores the metric system’s origins during the violence and upheavals of the French Revolution. Along the way, Goss and Perlin consider the intertwining of political and personal turmoil, the failures of standardization, and the subtleties of collaboration.

Naked, 2007

Naked shows a colony of naked mole rats living in a laboratory. This rare and highly socialized species demonstrates modes of behavior that in uncanny ways seem human-like. The mole rats are the most inbred species on the planet, and have the longest life span of any laboratory animal. The film zeroes in on aspects of their existence (overcrowded conditions, violence, tenderness) that have parallels in the life of human society.

Nebula, 2007

Nebula is a hallucinogenically immersive spectacle: a complex, long-form audio-visual composition, which pays playful homage to science fiction fantasies. Captured for video by means of stop-motion photography, objects made of glass, glitter and tulle, are nestled within a kaleidoscopic flow of computer-generated imagery. Drawing from Thomas Wilfred's Clavilux color organs as well as experimental abstract filmmakers such as Mary Ellen Bute, and James and John Whitney, Nebula also recalls liquid light shows and the marvelous sightings of the Hubble Space Telescope.

In the solar system 18 SCORPII, located some 45.3 light years from Earth at the northern edge of the Scorpius constellation, two planets have evolved cultures of profound mutual symbiotic reliance. The ecstatic dance-like interaction between the almost inert Kalataka and the exhausted but entranced Tarzanians, is extraordinarily beautiful, building to the climactic effusion of Kalataka sporge.

Produced in Tempe, Arizona this cosmic symbiosis is rendered with the help of masks, costumes, and campy visual effects.

Made at the San Francisco Art Institute with my students, this tuneful picture transports the viewer to the planet Mars as three attractive teens seek funding for an expedition into adulthood. Along the way they and we encounter the ups and downs of human relations and otherworldly intercourse. A family picture with timeless values, this foray into fantasy land on a tight budget should please the young at heart or old in body in unexpected ways. Although this trip is short on funding but big in concept it’s really quite a ride and looks like a million bucks for the vision impaired.

“A documentary about the Arkestra, but it's one whose presentation reflects the multilevel approach Sun Ra had to music and life in general. Jump cuts and split screens dot the visual stream with home movie footage from the Arkestra in Egypt during the 1970s to the Arkestra of today led by Marshall Allen. Director Ephraim Asili wisely divides the 40 minutes into distinct chapters, illustrating each with band interviews, live footage, visuals of planets and NASA launches, and his voice quoting writings from Ra.

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family is a drama made expressly for chimpanzees – and the chimps' reaction to its screening at the Edinburgh Zoo. Chimpanzees watch television as a form of enrichment in captivity. But no filmmaker had made a film for a specifically ape audience.

Satellite, 2004

"The human ear. A gatherer of energy. A gatherer of sound. RPMs and BPMs. Satellites go up to the sky."

In the video Satellite, Nelson Henricks combines found footage and techno beats to question western society's ongoing obsession with science, technology and the future. Juxtaposing images derived from old educational films with absurd, aphoristic slogans, Henricks offers up a witty, entertaining and provocative commentary of our need to make sense of everything, at any cost.