Preview of Broken Symmetries, a collaboration between FACT & CERN

Above: Haroon Mirza, ããã, 2016. Installation view from ‘Entheogens’ (2017), Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, January 13 to March 19, 2017. Photograph by SITE photography.

Super Collider. When art and science met
Preview of Broken Symmetries, a collaboration between FACT & CERN

Words, Kathryn Wainwright

Coming later this month, FACT’s recent collaborations with CERN – the largest particle physics laboratory in the world – go on display in Liverpool’s centre for arts and creative technology. In recent years, the line between art and technology has been slightly less clear. Exhibitions included traditionally creative portions of the sciences (gaming, social media, film industries, etc.) as their focus. For Broken Symmetries, science is very much science, and art is very much art.

The two industries collaborate, using representatives from each as go-betweens. There is no particular theme, meaning the artists aren’t squeezed into any boxes, other than having worked with scientists. In the same way as an artist might work with an historian, and see completely different results to another, in a different field of history, from a completely different perspective. The only thing linking the works is the joining of industries.

A particle physicist focussed on time will inevitably work in a different way to one working to understand space. The artists, therefore, have to prove themselves to be capable of understanding the information they are working with, in order to accurately represent it to FACT’s audience, or use the work of the scientists to enable their own ideas more accurately at least.

There is a fundamentally important boundary between art and science; a place of connection rather than separation; this sits in what we mean by an idea. In all other disciplines, what happens is interpretation. In maths, language, geography, technology, history, religious studies, medicine or psychology, an action, or a decision, is an interpretation of a motion already carried. In the arts, an idea is a philosophy not yet formed. In science, an idea is a theory not yet proven.

It’s part of the creative nature of the two, where ideas are more important than anything else. Broken Symmetries should prove that, if it meets it potential.