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Audemars Piguet Unveils Halo at Art Basel 2018
Audemars Piguet Unveils Halo at Art Basel 2018
Words Mark Smith
June 19. 2018

AP celebrates its fourth art installation during Art Basel, created by Semiconductor

Words Mark Smith
June 19, 2018

Swiss Haute Horlogerie brand Audemars Piguet celebrated the unveiling of its 4th Art Commission, Halo, during Art Basel in Basel 2018.

This year, the Audemars Piguet Art Commission was conceived and realised by British artist-duo Semiconductor, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, in collaboration with guest curator Mónica Bello, head of Arts and curator at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva.

Halo is a large-scale, site-specific artwork which presents visitors with an artistic interpretation of the Atlas experiment at Cern — The European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The cosmologcal kaleidoscope of light type art piece is the first time that raw data from Cern has been utilised within an art installation.

Audemars Piguet Unveils Halo at Art Basel 2018

The immersive installation is a ten-metre-wide and four metre tall cylinder-shaped structure, made up of vertical piano wires and a 360-degree screen.

Viewers were entirely immersed in Halo, surrounded by kaleidoscopic data projections generated by a series of slowed-down subatomic particle collisions that ordinarilly occur almost at the speed of light at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

We want people to experience what we call a ‘technological sublime’, you don’t need to know anything about the science to do this. It becomes an experience.

As they hit the screen, the animated data points trigger small hammers that proceed to reverberate the artwork’s body, emiting an all-encompassing vibration resonating throughout the artwork.

Artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt of Semiconductor discussed the project, “We’re interested in man’s signature on nature.

“Our aim is not to learn about scientific knowledge, but seeing what it has become once it has been observed by man.

“This quickly becomes a process of pattern reading which is something we as humans are doing all the time. We want people to experience what we call a ‘technological sublime’, you don’t need to know anything about the science to do this. It becomes an experience.”

Semiconductor (Left: Joe Gerhardt, Right:Ruth Jarman) and Mónica Bello (centre)
Semiconductor (Left: Joe Gerhardt, Right:Ruth Jarman) and Mónica Bello (centre)

Visiting Audemar Piguet

“Visiting the [Audemars Piguet] workshops and meeting its watchmakers was an interesting element of the project,” they add. “Audemars Piguet has much in common with the technology at Cern in how it strives for the limits of what's possible at the extreme ends of human scales and it can’t be ignored that in Halo, we have made a giant instrument that posseses qualities found in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN as well as the Audemars Piguet timepieces we discovered in Switzerland.”

Developed out of their two-month residency at Cern in 2015, Semiconductor was selected by Audemars Piguet and 2018 guest curator Mónica Bello for their exploration of the limits of physical phenomena and their artistic interpretation of the natural world.

The Audemars Piguet Art Commission collaborates with a selected curator and emerging or mid-career artist to realise a new artwork that is premiered during one of Art Basel’s three international shows.

The aim is to amplify the artist’s unique vision, while using the complexity and precision inherent in watchmaking as the artist’s stimuli. This year, Mónica Bello helped select Semiconductor whose work reflects the continuing exploration of these themes, celebrating a dialogue between contemporary art, science, and technology.

During Art Basel in Basel, Audemars Piguet also showcased the concluding design in a trilogy of lounge concepts by Chilean-born, New York-based artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz, alongside a photographic series by London-based, Italian visual artist Quayola at the Audemars Piguet Collectors Lounge.

Mark Smith
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