Brilliant Noise (HD)
Semiconductor, 2006, 9'38''

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Since 1999, the English artists’ duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt have been working under the name Semiconductor, with an approach to the world around us that is scientific and artistic at the same time. In their work, the artists intelligently and playfully make phenomena visible that human beings cannot normally perceive by their senses. Semiconductor reveals the occurrences hidden behind everyday reality. The grant that enabled the duo to work for five months at NASA’s Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley, California, was a bull’s-eye. There they could give free rein to their interest in the invisible. One of the films they made during this period was 'Brilliant Noise'.
This black-and-white film shows grainy images of the exterior of a celestial bo
y. Its swirling surface suggests a powerful source of energy: the sun. In contrast to the stereotypical yellow ball that we usually imagine, 'Brilliant Noise' shows the sun as a constellation of fields of force, currents and energy bands. Its surface is in a constant state of flux, with eruptions, fumes and gases dancing across its burning skin. The unpolished and grainy images give the film something just slightly romantic. The images look like found footage. In a sense they are, because they have been picked out from among the hundreds of thousands of NASA files made by satellites orbiting the sun. Normally NASA edits these files before they are published, but Semiconductor used the raw footage. By editing similar images together, they have created sequences and thereby movement. For this reason, Semiconductor’s work has been labelled ‘moving-image work’.
The shrieking, squeaking and crackling soundtrack intensifies the viewer’s feeling of being in live connection with the sun. It is as if the faltering reception affects the sound. The constant switching between various frequencies makes for brilliant noise.

Netherlands Media Art Institute, Nanda Janssen

  • Date: 2006
  • Length: 9'38''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA