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Monday 12 October 2020

UK Premiere Of Earthworks By Semiconductor To Open In Brighton's Fabrica Gallery This Month

Earthworks is an immersive artwork by Brighton-based Semiconductor (Joe Gerhardt and Ruth Jarman) which will be exhibited at Fabrica, Brighton's Contemporary Art Centre, from now to 22nd November 20202.

A five-channel computer generated animation, the work creates an immersive experience of the phenomena of landscape formation through the scientific and technological devices that are used to study it.  

Masses of colourful layers are animated by the soundscapes of earthquake, volcanic, glacial and human activity, recorded as seismic waves, which form spectacular fluctuating marbled waveforms. 

The twenty metre screen zig-zags through the space taking over the entire gallery. 

Earthworks makes tangible the immense natural forces captured by seismic data and tackles the way in which geological and human processes are inextricably linked in the Anthropocene.

Semiconductor, who are based in Brighton, and have exhibited work internationally, have employed the scientific technique of Analogue Modelling, which uses layers of real world multi-coloured particles and application of pressure and motion to make the film. 

As the layers become deformed, they reproduce the generation and evolution of landscapes in nature over thousands of years, revealing them to be in a constant state of flux.

Semiconductor explains:

"In our work we are interested in exploring the material nature of the physical
world and how we experience it through the lens of science and technology. 

"With this work we want to create an experience of the phenomena of landscape formation through the languages that are made to study it.

Earthworks - Semiconductor (Full cycle)

"By using seismic data to control the Geo-Models we are not only playing with the idea that it is these actions that have shaped landscapes, but also that being an event that occurs beyond a human-time frame, landscape formation can only be experienced through scientific technological mediation of nature.

"It produces information about time, space and phenomena that no human consciousness could possibly have witnessed."

The accompanying audio is rich and full of the intricacies of the dynamics of our planet in motion. 

By using seismic data to control the masses of layers Semiconductor also play with the idea that it is these forces that have shaped landscapes. 

It is as if we are watching hundreds of thousands of years played out in front of our eyes, enabling us to bear witness to events which ordinarily occur on geological time-frames.

Liz Whitehead, Fabrica Director, adds:

"Exhibiting this artwork now is both important and timely. 

"Earthworks positions the scale of extractive human activity, such as mining, alongside the awesome natural phenomenon of earthquakes, glacial movements and volcanoes, emphasising that we truly are in the Anthropocene - the geological age of the human. 

"As we make our way through the coronavirus pandemic into a new economic crisis, it's important not to forget the environmental crisis still at hand."

By adopting the analogue modelling techniques, the work celebrates the revelatory capacities of modern science and technologies to create a kind of technological sublime, whilst simultaneously inviting viewers to consider the philosophical problems posed by such technologically mediated observations of imperceptible phenomena.

The capacity of Fabrica gallery has been limited to twelve. There may be queuing outside the gallery due to the limited capacity. 

Exhibition dates and hours: now – 22 November 2020, Wed-Sat 12-6pm, Sun 2-6pm, closed Mon & Tue. CLICK HERE for more details.

by: Mike Cobley



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