The Art of the Invisible

Quantica is an international exhibition of new artworks exploring the ways in which artists and scientists are working together to uncover the hidden aspects of our world.

This major co-production is a partnership with Arts at CERN (the arts program of the largest particle physics laboratory in the world), FACT, Liverpool, and three other international art organizations: CCCB, Barcelona; le lieu unique, Nantes; and iMAL, Brussels. The show – which features ten new commissions by international artists working between the fields of art and science – opens at FACT, Liverpool in November 2018 before touring to Spain, France and Brussels.

A new international exhibition at FACT, Liverpool, Quantica, brings together artists who aim to understand and question the physical world by navigating the shifting realities of modern science.
The artworks in Quantica rethink scientific facts by performing or interrogating theories and experiments: uncovering and challenging the very notion of reality and how we arrive at something as ‘fact’, with implications far beyond the domain of science. These new works question how much is certain about the world around us, and how we might attempt
to discover new aspects by looking at the world differently.

Thanks to the technological and scientific breakthroughs of the last hundred years we are now more able than ever to understand and interpret the hidden nature of the universe which govern our existence. This bleeding edge of inquiry into existence has long served as an inspiration to many artists, who use and get inspired by scientific research to better
explore states of being, experimentation, and alternative possibilities of reality.
In recent years, CERN –the largest particle physics laboratory in the world– has been at the forefront of creating novel models for collaboration between arts and science. By uniting these practices, new questions and connections are raised that may contribute to the understanding of the hidden world, and the impact it has on our lives.
Mike Stubbs, Artistic Director of FACT says, “Now more than ever, it is of increasing importance that we understand the world around us is not as it seems. Comprehending how much of our existence relies upon shifting narratives has long been a pursuit of scientists and artists – but in uncertain times, society as a whole should embrace the importance of
the unknown, accepting alternative approaches to uncovering reality and truth.
Within this pursuit, interdisciplinary working, something at the heart of both Arts at CERN and FACT’s ethos, is vital, and we are thrilled to partner on a project which celebrates and showcases international collaborations. The last three years have seen some of the most exciting artists working with science engage with the program, creating works in which
some of the most urgent political and philosophical questions of our time collide with the forefront of scientific inquiry.”
Looking at the reality of such encounters, new exhibition, Quantica is the latest outcome of the Collide International Residency award: one of the core programs of Arts at CERN since 2011 and a collaboration with FACT, Liverpool since 2016. The exhibition presents some of the work undertaken within this program, showcasing artworks developed in residence between Arts at CERN and FACT over the last three years.

Each of the artists was selected from an annual open call, to receive a grant and residency between both organisations, or to undertake a research visit to CERN. Artists include: Julieta Aranda (MX/DE), Diann Bauer (US/UK), James Bridle (UK/GR), Juan Cortés (CO), hrm199 (Haroon Mirza in collaboration with Jack Jelfs) (UK), Yunchul Kim (SK), Lea Porsager (DK), Suzanne Treister (UK), Semiconductor (UK), Yu-Chen Wang (TW/UK).

This year’s winner¨ Suzanne Treister¨ has developed a major new work which takes as a starting point the idea that our universe can be thought of as a vast and complex hologram ≠ a theory also currently being explored at CERN. She comments: “My project, The Holographic Universe Theory of Art History (THUTOAH), further hypothesises that beyond acknowledged art historical contexts and imperatives artists may have always also been unconsciously describing the holographic nature of reality. At CERN I interviewed several theoretical particle physicists and found them largely in agreement with this theory. They were also happy to make artworks visualizing the holographic principle. The central work of THUTOAH is an experimental video which tests my theory: echoing the methodology of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN it accelerates the whole of art history into several minutes, projecting over 25,000 works chronologically at 25 images-per-second in a looped sequence.”

Quantica brings together the ten commissions by these international artists, creatively exploring the complex notions of current fundamental scientific research –both its findings and processes– and in doing so, provoking new and significant dialogues within wider society.

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