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Science as Art

August 28, 2009

Hello everyone. I was asked to do some “pure science” posts, which I promise I will do. In the meantime, I’d like to point out the cool videos done by a team of artists calling themselves semiconductor. They make some really beautiful art out of scientific data. One example is a piece called Black Rain. From their description:

Black Rain is sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO. Here we see the HI (Heliospheric Imager) visual data as it tracks interplanetary space for solar wind and CME’s (coronal mass ejections) heading towards Earth. Data courtesy of courtesy of the Heliospheric Imager on the NASA STEREO mission.

Working with STEREO scientists, Semiconductor collected all the HI image data to date, revealing the journey of the satellites from their initial orientation, to their current tracing of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Solar wind, CME’s, passing planets and comets orbiting the sun can be seen as background stars and the milky way pass by.

As in Semiconductors previous work ‘Brilliant Noise’ which looked into the sun, they work with raw scientific satellite data which has not yet been cleaned and processed for public consumption. By embracing the artefacts, calibration and phenomena of the capturing process we are reminded of the presence of the human observer who endeavors to extend our perceptions and knowledge through technological innovation.

And here’s a different sort of video of theirs, but one that will be of interest to readers of this blog.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard Eis permalink
    August 28, 2009 1:44 pm

    That old guy behind the desk is soooo going to get quote mined by the creationists.

  2. Patrick Truitt permalink
    August 28, 2009 2:30 pm

    That’s actually Charles Townes, winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics.

  3. August 28, 2009 3:55 pm

    Black Rain makes me think of an odd blend of the closing scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the work of The Brothers Quay. Fascinating.

  4. Johann permalink
    August 30, 2009 12:43 am

    Mmm. Black Rain is a lot of fun – had a minor moment of glee when I finally figured out the time frame of the video from seeing the comets passing by the Sun. Thank you for posting this. =)

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