Magnetic Movie
Semiconductor, 2007, 4'47''

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In 'Magnetic Movie', magnetic fields make for a hallucinating spectacle. When Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, the English duo operating under the name 'Semiconductor' since 1999, were given a grant and thereby the chance to spend time at the Space Science Laboratory, UC Berkeley, California, they gratefully used it to get more grip on the phenomenon of magnetism.
In the soundtrack of this film, four physicists successively highlight different aspects of this phenomenon. Semiconductor has playfully visualized this complex subject matter in the labs of the various physicists, making use of the ‘moving-image technique’. By placing various photos in sequence and editing them, they have turned the photos into a film. Magnetic fields emerge here and there in the
eautiful photo shots made at the laboratories. When a physicist speaks of a ‘hairball’, suddenly a tangle of white ‘threads’ becomes visible on a peculiar machine. Dancing black and red dots turn up in a glass vessel at the moment when another scientist describes a magnetic phenomenon in this way. But most of the time the interpretation of the interviews is much freer. From the microscopes, the bottles filled with liquids, the boxes of screws, the electric apparatus, the white overalls, steel racks and microscope slides, we can see magnetic fields and currents emerge, which multiply and grow rampant in the labs. These expanding movements are emphasized by the sound effects. Each interview is accompanied by a new visual component, for example, a different colour or different shape joining the other ones. The magnetic fields claim more and more elbow room, penetrate the panelled ceilings, move through the corridors, and eventually escape through the windows and crackle into the skies.

Netherlands Media Art Institute, Nanda Janssen

  • Date: 2007
  • Length: 4'47''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: poetry, animation
  • Keywords: representation, perception, science, nature