Alex Adriaansens on Thu, 24 Jun 1999 15:58:03 +0200

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Syndicate: Cosmic Changes

Eclipses, Life and other COSMIC CHANCES

The Arts Catalyst Art-Science Conference at the Royal Institution

It is said we are living in a golden age of cosmology. Slowly the way the
universe is put together is unfolding before our eyes. This summer,
Northern Europe will be a direct witness to the way spinning bodies
inexorably move in predictable paths when the sun goes dark over Cornwall,
the English Channel and in a line all the way to India. Artists are playing
a part in these realisations too. James Turrell is remodelling a massive
crater that will capture the sun's light in a perfect ellipse. Janet
Saad-Cook is working with the Very Large Array in New Mexico to harness
directly the sun's movements to create art and Cornelia Parker is planning
to send a meteorite into space. Computer users around the world are signing
up their PCs to decode the messages coming from SETI - the Search for
Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

'Cosmic Chances' will bring scientists battling with the fundamental
mysteries of the universe - scientists from NASA, the French Space Agency,
Jodrell Bank and SETI - into a unique series of exchanges with artists at
London's historic Royal Institution. At last year’s Arts Catalyst
art-science conference 'Eye Of The Storm', artists and scientists looked at
controversial areas - genetics, nuclear physics, consciousness, space
travel and sex. In this year of the eclipse, we focus on astronomy,
astrophysics and astrobiology, the exciting discoveries about extra-solar
planets and the possibility of sharing the universe with other life-forms.


Coincidences in the Cosmos

Conference Chair Roger Malina, Director of NASA's Extreme Ultra-Violet
Explorer Observatory and Founder/Editor of Leonardo, the art science
journal, will update us on the hottest astronomical discoveries from space

Intelligent Light

Leading artist James Turrell will explore the fundamental nature of light
and unveil the final stages of his extraordinary life-long project at the
Roden Carter - an extinct volcano transformed by earthmovers into a massive

Why the Sun Shines and Continues to Shine 

Marcus Chown of the New Scientist and author of 'The Afterglow of Creation
and the forthcoming 'The Magic Furnace', explores the chance
correspondences that keep the nuclear reactor in the sky running.

Drawing with the Sun

Janet Saad Cook, artist, will describe her project for the Very Large Array
- an enormous field of radio-telescopes in New Mexico - as part of her
Global Sun Drawing, a single globe-encircling work of art using the sun. 

Heart of the Sun

David Wark, particle physicist, describes the search for the - as yet
undetected - solar neutrino underway in deep chambers around the world. 

Life Spreading Through the Universe

Chandra Wickramasinghe, collaborator with Sir Fred Hoyle on 'Life in the
Cosmos' and other books, introduces the provocative notions of panspermia,
biological determinism and cosmological constraints.

Eclipses: A History of Night in Day

Historian Frank James of the Royal Institution examines the significance of
chronicles and records of eclipses through the centuries.

Natural Space Debris

Cornelia Parker, sculptor, describes the progress in her extraordinary
project to return a meteorite back into space.

Life Outside the Solar System

Ian Morison, Jodrell Bank scientist and co-ordinator of Britain's role on
the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence with the SETI Institute,
updates us on the latest search with the big dish.

Our Life Inside a Superconductor

Sandra Chapman, astrophysicist from the University of Warwick, unveils our
precarious connection with the sun – the solar wind, a hurricane or
particles which blows from the sun at incredible velocities, buffeting and
battering the earth and extending far beyond the furthest planet of the
solar system.


Ansuman Biswas, artist, describes his worldwide project for the Arts
Catalyst's exhibition 'Searching', in which he propose to place an array of
dishes thousands of miles apart in uninhabited places to collect whatever
falls from the sky.

SETI for All

Amanda Baker, regional co-ordinator of the SETI League, explains how the
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence is significant for the whole

Terrestrial Organisms in Extraterrestrial Materials: a Tool to Detect
Martian life? 

Andrew Steele is an astrobiologist working on project for NASA. He hopes to
investigate the first sample coming back from Mars

Performance - Solar Wind

Anne Bean, artist, and Marcus Chown are working on an art/science voyage
following the path of the eclipse in the English Channel, with 36
participants recording their impressions, from which will emerge web-based
internet and installation projects. 

Programme Information

The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle St London W1 

July 1 7 PM Reception, performance of Solar Wind by Anne Bean with Ansuman
Biswas, and prize draw for participant place on Eclipse cruise.

July 2 9.30 AM, registration. 10.00 AM - 7 PM Speakers

Contact information:

Conference administration: Anastasia Calder, 44(0)171 375 3690, fax 44
(0)171 377 0298, email:, postal address: The
Arts Catalyst, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St London E1 6LS, England

V2_Organisation - Alex Adriaansens
Eendrachtsstraat 10
3012 XL Rotterdam
tel: +31.10.2067272  fax: +31.10.2067271

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