Spectral Constellations, 2021

Semiconductor is a UK artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. Their work explores the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology. Spectral Constellations is a series of generative animations, driven by scientific data of young stars. This data, collected by scientists using a method called Spectroscopy, creates an understanding of structures around distant young stars, where gas and dust come together to form planets. Scientists study the light this matter emits using prisms to split it into its constituent wavelengths, revealing its elemental make-up. By analyzing this data over time, spatial formations of the matter can be decoded.

Semiconductor have worked with this spectral data as a physical material, translating it into rings of light which resemble the gradiated discs of planetary and stellar formations. As the data ebbs and flows it introduces a sense of form and motion, waveforms merge and interfere revealing patterns and rhythms, and engage our human tendency towards pattern recognition. The work brings into tangible experience that which is outside of what is humanly perceivable, confronting the viewer with information which is ordinarily outside of a human scale, both of time and space. Detached from its scientific framework, data becomes a material in its own form, creating a space for reflection upon our relationship to phenomena at the extremities of our perception. Their work seek to bring about a questioning of our position as observer, and a critical reflection upon how perception of the material world is always technologically mediated. Scale is harnessed to confront, through stretching the imagination and to position the human subject as part of the wider ecosystem of our universe.