Arts at CERN collaborates with the Spencer Museum of Art

30 Mar 2021

On 8 April, (18:00 CDT, +1:00 AM CET) a live stream event will highlight research by University of Kansas faculty and students through an emerging collaboration between the Spencer Museum of Art’s Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) and Arts at CERN.

The experimental live performance will include dancer Vinson Fraley and musician Earl Maneein layered with video footage from CERN that has been manipulated by mathematical techniques used in quantum mechanics. Titled “Singular Value Decomposition”, the performance is grounded in research conducted at the University of Kansas by Agnieszka Miedlar, assistant professor of mathematics; Daniel Tapia Takaki, associate professor of physics & astronomy; Clint Hurshman, student of philosophy; Olivia Johnson, student of mathematics and dance; and Janet Biggs, a New York-based video installation artist. Joey Orr, the Spencer Museum’s curator for research, has guided the collaboration in the production of new work at the boundaries of science and visual art.

Using prompts like “extreme fluctuation” and “entanglements,” the dancer and musician will act as quantum waves within the performance. The performance is presented as a free live stream by the Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, which represents Biggs.

“This experimental performance is an exploration of whether methods from mathematics and physics can provide new techniques for artistic production,” Orr said. “Can mathematics and physics equations translate into dance movements? Can notations drawn on a whiteboard become choreography? Can a violinist read collisions occurring in the Hadron Collider as a musical score?”

Arts at CERN and the Spencer Museum of Art’s Integrated Arts Research Initiative will continue asking these questions and more next year as the partnership becomes the focus for IARI’s 2021–2022 academic year.

Cover image: From left to right: Mario Sorrenti, the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, Max Sequeira.