The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCIRA Artist Jaime Forero-Romero presents project Fluid Skies in Berlin

An exhibition by Yunchul Kim.
Curated by Lucía Ayala.
In collaboration with Jaime Forero.

Date & Time:
Thursday, September 6, 2012, 7:00PM – December 1, 2012

Ernst Schering Foundation
Unter den Linden 32-34
10117 Berlin

The exhibition ‘Carved Air’ presents the latest work of the Berlin-based artist Yunchul Kim, created in collaboration with the ‘Fluid Skies’ team. Electrochemical drawings share the space with ‘Effulge’ and ‘Flare’, two fluid-kinetic sculptures coupled to a cosmic ray detector, which has been built specifically for the event as an artistic (and functional) object.

‘Carved Air’ suggests, even through its title, one of the main impulses of Kim’s work: the profound epistemological complexity behind contemporary scientific processes. The Swiss theoretical physicist Walther Ritz wrote in 1909, before the full deployment of quantum mechanics, that “the extreme precision of spectral measurements [of atoms] provides us, on this subject, many valuable documents, unfortunately written in hieroglyphics that we do not know how to decipher.” Some decades later, the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard echoed these words and raised the idea of hieroglyphics to the forefront of contemporary science. From the 20th century onwards, the objects analyzed by scientists have lost their direct relation to immediate experience. They are not objects in a traditional sense anymore but, according to Bachelard, they have entered a cryptic realm, an “organization of metaphors” that brings us “messages from an unknown world”. Etymologically, the term ‘hieroglyphics’ means ‘sacred carving’.

In response to these ideas, the Korean artist Yunchul Kim proposes to ‘carve the air’, to aesthetically manipulate the materiality of the sky as a reflection of some core aspects of current astrophysics: the formation of galaxies through diverse physical instabilities acting on visible and dark matter, the methods of detecting and interpreting data, the cosmic dimensions of nano-particles, the effects of electromagnetic forces in shaping matter and the role of experiments and simulations as unique ways of approaching physical phenomena. ‘Carved Air’ combines Kim’s artistic work on fluid dynamics and chemical physics with the scientific approach of the theoretical astrophysicist Jaime Forero and the historical view of the fluid skies of Lucía Ayala, art historian and curator of the exhibition. Together they explore the fluid materiality of the Universe from a scientific, artistic, historical, philosophical and poetic perspective. Kim’s exhibition at the Ernst Schering Foundation in Berlin is the first outcome of this collaboration.

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