Sunday, September 14, 2008

Black Box: Semiconductor

Magnetic Movie
August 25, 2008-December 14, 2008

Artists Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, aka Semiconductor, have collaborated since 1999 on various forms of “digital noise and computer anarchy,” including films, experimental DVDs, and multimedia performances. The London-based pair makes moving-image works that reveal our physical world in flux: cities in motion, shifting landscapes, and systems in chaos. They strive to transcend the constraints of time, scale, and natural forces and explore the world beyond human experience, questioning our very existence.

Among the shorts featured in the Black Box is Magnetic Movie, 2007, an eye-dazzling “documentary” created during the artists’ residency at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley. The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are exposed as chaotic ever-changing geometries. VLF (very low frequency) audio recordings reveal recurrent “whistlers” produced by fleeting electrons, while space scientists describe their discoveries. As we watch the film it’s not clear: Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?

Magnetic Movie was awarded best film at Cutting Edge and at the 2008 British Animation Awards and best experimental film at the 2007 Tirana International Film Festival. Joseph Gerhardt was born in 1972, Oxford, England, and has a bachelor’s of arts in sculpture from the University of Brighton. Ruth Jarman was born in 1973, Fareham, England, and has a bachelor’s in critical fine art practice from the University of Brighton.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Smithsonian Institution
Independence Avenue
Washington, D.C., 20024

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