Rob La Frenais on Sat, 5 Jun 1999 08:54:58 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Arts Catalyst Art-Science Conference , London, 1-2 July

Eclipses, Life and other COSMIC CHANCES

The Arts Catalyst Art-Science Conference at the Royal Institution

It is said we are living in a golden age of cosmology. Slowly the way 
the universe is put together is unfolding before our eyes. This summer, 
Northern Europe will be a direct witness to the way spinning bodies 
inexorably move in predictable paths when the sun goes dark over 
Cornwall, the English Channel and in a line all the way to India. 
Artists are playing a part in these realisations too. James Turrell is 
remodelling a massive crater that will capture the sun's light in a 
perfect ellipse. Janet Saad-Cook is working with the Very Large Array in 
New Mexico to harness directly the sun's movements to create art and 
Cornelia Parker is planning to send a meteorite into space. Computer 
users around the world are signing up their PCs to decode the messages 
coming from SETI - the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

'Cosmic Chances' will bring scientists battling with the fundamental 
mysteries of the universe - scientists from NASA, the French Space 
Agency, Jodrell Bank and SETI - into a unique series of exchanges with 
artists at London's historic Royal Institution. At last year's Arts 
Catalyst art-science conference 'Eye Of The Storm', artists and 
scientists looked at controversial areas - genetics, nuclear physics, 
consciousness, space travel and sex. In this year of the eclipse, we 
focus on astronomy, astrophysics and astrobiology, the exciting 
discoveries about extra-solar planets and the possibility of sharing the 
universe with other life-forms.


Coincidences in the Cosmos

Conference Chair Roger Malina, Director of NASA's Extreme Ultra-Violet 
Explorer Observatory and Founder/Editor of Leonardo, the art science 
journal, will update us on the hottest astronomical discoveries from 
space telescopes

Intelligent Light

Leading artist James Turrell will explore the fundamental nature of 
light and unveil the final stages of his extraordinary life-long project 
at the Roden Carter - an extinct volcano transformed by earthmovers into 
a massive artwork.

Why the Sun Shines and Continues to Shine

Marcus Chown of the New Scientist and author of 'The Afterglow of 
Creation and the forthcoming 'The Magic Furnace', explores the chance 
correspondences that keep the nuclear reactor in the sky running.

Drawing with the Sun

Janet Saad Cook, artist, will describe her project for the Very Large 
Array - an enormous field of radio-telescopes in New Mexico - as part of 
her Global Sun Drawing, a single globe-encircling work of art using the 

Heart of the Sun

David Wark, particle physicist, describes the search for the - as yet 
undetected - solar neutrino underway in deep chambers around the world.

Life Spreading Through the Universe

Chandra Wickramasinghe, collaborator with Sir Fred Hoyle on 'Life in the 
Cosmos' and other books, introduces the provocative notions of 
panspermia, biological determinism and cosmological constraints.

Eclipses: A History of Night in Day

Historian Frank James of the Royal Institution examines the significance 
of chronicles and records of eclipses through the centuries.

Natural Space Debris

Cornelia Parker, sculptor, describes the progress in her extraordinary 
project to return a meteorite back into space.

Life Outside the Solar System

Ian Morison, Jodrell Bank scientist and co-ordinator of Britain's role 
on the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence with the SETI 
Institute, updates us on the latest search with the big dish.

Our Life Inside a Superconductor

Sandra Chapman, astrophysicist from the University of Warwick, unveils 
our precarious connection with the sun - the solar wind, a hurricane 
or particles which blows from the sun at incredible velocities, 
buffeting and battering the earth and extending far beyond the furthest 
planet of the solar system.


Ansuman Biswas, artist, describes his worldwide project for the Arts 
Catalyst's exhibition 'Searching', in which he propose to place an array 
of dishes thousands of miles apart in uninhabited places to collect 
whatever falls from the sky.

SETI for All

Amanda Baker, regional co-ordinator of the SETI League, explains how the 
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence is significant for the whole 

Terrestrial Organisms in Extraterrestrial Materials: a Tool to Detect 
Martian life?

Andrew Steele is an astrobiologist working on project for NASA. He hopes 
to investigate the first sample coming back from Mars

Performance - Solar Wind

Anne Bean, artist, and Marcus Chown are working on an art/science voyage 
following the path of the eclipse in the English Channel, with 36 
participants recording their impressions, from which will emerge 
web-based internet and installation projects.

Programme Information

The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle St London W1

July 1 7 PM Reception, performance of Solar Wind by Anne Bean with 
Ansuman Biswas, and prize draw for participant place on Eclipse cruise.

July 2 9.30 AM, registration. 10.00 AM - 7 PM Speakers

Contact information:

Conference administration: Anastasia Calder, 44(0)171 375 3690, fax 44 
(0)171 377 0298, email:, postal address: 
The Arts Catalyst, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St London E1 6LS, 

Registration Information

Special price for bookings before June 18 - 25 pounds sterling/15 pounds 
sterling concessions

After June 18 - 35 pounds sterling/ 20 pounds sterling concessions

All bookings before the day of the conference eligible for the prize 
draw in which 2 delegates will win a place as a participant on our 
art/science eclipse cruise. (Please indicate if you are available to 
travel on August 10/11)

VISA bookings accepted - Call 0171 375 3690

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