Ryoji Ikeda to present Supersymmetry in London, the installation he developed with CERN, finally makes your particle physics PhD worthwhile

Ryoji Ikeda to present Supersymmetry in London, the installation he developed with CERN, finally makes your particle physics PhD worthwhile

Early last year, you may have heard that the newest talent to join the ranks of CERN was none other than… Ryoji Ikeda. While it might be strange for a sound artist to be involved with the world’s largest particle physics lab, that’s not Ikeda’s case. As a matter of fact, this is the third time CERN has invited an artist to collaborate with their researchers, through the Prix Ars Electronica Collide @ CERN residency program. In 2013, sound art pioneer Bill Fontana, known for his work on sound sculptures and aural mapping, won the residency. Anyhow, as much as it would imply short-selling Ikeda’s cross-media work, this is the first time an artist mainly associated with music has been selected.

Admittedly, a bunch of artists have worked with metadata before, but certainly CERN is as close to the mother lode as one gets. Furthermore, having dedicated the last decade and a half to working on data-informed sound art, Ryoji Ikeda is just about the perfect match. Some of the Paris-based Japanese artist’s most recent works are Test Pattern, The Transfinite, and the Datamatics Trilogy, all involving different forms of data processing.

After a few months in the lab, in close collaboration with professor Tom Melia studying LHC-generated data, Ikeda has completed the first iteration of his projected work. The result is Supersymmetry, a “theoretical mathematical model” that explores the fringes of physics and sound, surveying the massive nature of particles. Of course, unless you have advance knowledge in quantum physics, you may prefer sticking to the dozen projectors that compose the multimedia installation accompanying the project. So, while Ikeda and his lab buddies try to solve the “does the Higgs Boson actually have mass” conundrum, we can all enjoy the flickering lights and trippy sounds going on around us.

Supersymmetry will be presented in London, from April 23 to May 31, at The Vinyl Factory Space.

• Ryoji Ikeda: http://www.ryojiikeda.com
• Tom Melia: http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/people/TomMelia/tommelia.html
• CERN: http://home.web.cern.ch

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