Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

Finished but not forgotten!

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Covariance is now de-installed and residing, boxed, in my conservatory, a far cry from its splendour in the atmospheric ice wells underneath the London Canal Museum. The project has been an extraordinary experience, in every way, especially the feedback from visitors, which was overwhelmingly positive.

The collaboration with Ben and the Institute of Physics was wonderful. Their generosity and openness allowed me to absorb, ponder and enquire; be perplexed, fascinated and amazed. My journey started with nervousness and uncertainty; could my non-scientific brain get to grips, even a little bit, with particle physics? The answer was a resounding yes and I now have the desire and confidence to continue my exploration into this surprising, magical world and hope that through the legacy of Covariance and future projects I can encourage more people to do the same.

I hope other artists and physicists are fortunate enough to be part of the Superposition experience; I eagerly look forward to the future collaborations that will emerge.   

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Covariance installed!

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It's done! The 763 individual components of Covariance were safely delivered to the London Canal Museum on Monday and with Ben, Aaron and Annabel's help were installed by the end of Wednesday. The finished work is everything I had hoped for and more, it takes my breath away!

We've a busy week ahead of us - press engagements, staff training and readying ourselves for the first visitors. We open to the public on Saturday 24 August at 11am - see bookings info for further details.

Image of the installation mid-way through installation.

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Covariance packed and ready to go!

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Finished at last! The final discs were completed last week; the light boxes assembled this week and remaining brass links done yesterday. Covariance is now packed and residing in my lounge room, ready for the art transporters to take down to London.

The lighting was installed during the week. We've been very lucky to have ARUP Lighting as a sponsor and Alison, Dwayene, Paula and Guillermo from ARUP worked incredibly hard on Tuesday night to dig out the lighting channels - it looked like a cross between Ground Force and Time Team! The lights, which have been generously donated by a range of companies, were installed Wednesday. I gave myself the job of collecting and bagging the builder's rubble from the floor, very messy!

 

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Framework installed and discs nearing completion

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The framework was installed last week and I'm thrilled with how it looks. It's a perfect fit with the industrial feel of the ice well - the contractors did a brilliant job. I've now finished the green and orange discs (yeah!), and am part way through the red ones - only 25 to go! That's not the end of it though, I've got 380 (plus a few extra) brass links to make to hang the discs from and then assemble the 3 light boxes.

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Female computers

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A capital YES re the labour involved in making the work, at the moment it seems endless! What I've found most difficult is the intensity; I'm making most hours of the day, every day and have been for the past two months. It's very intricate work, mostly using tweezers and I have to wear gloves, which I hate, to keep finger prints off the acrylic.

I often see the labour-intensive work I make as a private performance and there is always a strong conceptual link to each individual work. During my conversations with Ben I came across an image of a woman collating data from bubble chamber experiments in 1970. Thousands of women were employed to do this work; they were actually called computers. The image became a strong influence for me and has directly affected my choice of using glass beads and diamantes, which are more commonly used in women's craft. You could say I'm aligning myself with the work ethic employed by these women.

  

Credit: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

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