Hybrid Art


Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Evelina Domnitch (NL), Dmitry Gelfand (NL)


Cyberarts 2013 - International Compendium Prix Ars Electronica 2013

As you are reading this text your body is being penetrated by thousands of charge carriers arriving from all possible directions of outer space. Although these subatomic messengers, known as cosmic rays, are too small and too fast to be seen, they leave macroscopic condensation trails in the cryogenic environment of a cloud chamber. Though initially intended for studying the nucleation of atmospheric clouds, the cloud chamber accidentally led to the pivotal discovery of cosmic rays and to the birth of particle physics.

Memory Vapor comprises a one-cubic-meter cloud chamber to which electric and magnetic fields are applied, making it also a particle accelerator. At the bottom of the chamber, once the temperature drops to -200° C liquid ethanol begins to evaporate into a thin cloud. The cooling is achieved with eight liters of liquid nitrogen placed directly below the chamber.

Our unique artistic contribution lies in the use of a pulsating white laser sheet to illuminate the tracks of ionized nuclei, muons, electrons, positrons and antiprotons. The laser turns each micro-droplet of these ephemeral condensation trails into a luminous lens. The light is trapped in the droplet just like sound is trapped in the whispering chambers of Gothic cathedrals. As reflections accumulate, the light is amplified, turning the droplet into a laser cavity. The pulsation of the laser also incites a sense of altered temporality: in the same way that a flying bullet can be photographed with rapid flashes of light, the naked eye can register such micro-temporal dynamics without any need for a recording medium. As a result, the spatio-temporal perception of particle tracks is vastly enhanced—an unusual sensation of iridescent depth emerges. The observer’s instantaneous connection with quantum reality can only be truly achieved through unmediated and expanded experience.

Supported by Studiolab and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts