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Joan Heemskerk wins CERN’s Collide Copenhagen residency award

Joan Heemskerk, one of the pioneers of web-based art, has been selected as the winner of this year’s edition

On the left, artwork «Prototype», 2022, on the right, artwork «SAT-HEX», 2022 (copyright: Joan Heemskerk)

On the left, artwork «Prototype», 2022, on the right, artwork «SAT-HEX», 2022 (copyright: Joan Heemskerk)

Following an international open call launched in collaboration with Copenhagen Contemporary in March, Arts at CERN announced today that Dutch artist Joan Heemskerk is the winner of the first Collide Copenhagen residency award.  

Collide is the flagship programme of Arts at CERN, which invites artists worldwide from all creative disciplines to submit proposals for a research-led residency grounded on interactions with CERN’s scientific community. The eleventh edition of Collide, and the first of Collide Copenhagen, attracted 592 project proposals from 90 different countries. 

Referencing Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal at CERN that all scientists should be able to exchange ideas, Joan Heemskerk’s project, Alice & Bob after Clay +=-> Hello, world!, seeks to develop a new universal language. Through a re-assessment of the cryptographic characters Alice and Bob, the material clay and the computer programme Hello, World!, the produced message, in the form of a light-beam or a radio-signal or something else entirely, would transcend galactic and life-form boundaries. 

Joan Heemskerk will complete a two-month residency, which will be split between CERN and Copenhagen Contemporary and dedicated to artistic research and exploration. She will work side by side with physicists, engineers and laboratory staff.  

With the support of the curatorial teams of Arts at CERN and Copenhagen Contemporary, the residency will be followed by a phase of designing and producing a new artwork that will become part of an exhibition at Copenhagen Contemporary in 2025, which will examine the impact of technology on humanity.  

“CERN has a long history of innovating ideas and is a unique environment for developing new forms of science and art. It fits within the mission of Arts at CERN to welcome an artist who has continually challenged our collective understanding and imagination of the digital realm. We are delighted to support Joan Heemskerk in exploring the possibility of a new language, in dialogue and with the support of our community”, says Mónica Bello, head of Arts at CERN. 

“At Copenhagen Contemporary we regard artists as primary investigators of contemporary culture. As a pioneer of digitally based art, Joan Heemskerk has challenged our notions of technology from the early days of the internet – and we are beyond excited to work with her on a new project”, says Marie Laurberg, director of Copenhagen Contemporary. 

About Arts at CERN 

About Copenhagen Contemporary  

About Joan Heemskerk 
Joan Heemskerk works in photography, video, software, games, websites, performance and installations. She is a member of the art collective JODI, which pioneered web-based art in the mid-1990s. Their practice investigates conventions of the internet, computer programmes and video games, disrupting the languages of these systems: from visual aesthetics to interface elements, from codes and features to errors and viruses. They challenge the relationship between computer technology and users by subverting our expectations about the functionalities and conventions of the systems that we depend upon in our everyday lives.  

About the jury 
The jury consisted of Mónica Bello, curator and head of Arts at CERN; Irene Campolmi, curator and researcher; Vitor Cardoso, professor of Physics and Villum investigator at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen; Marie Laurberg, director of Copenhagen Contemporary; Filipa Ramos, PhD, writer, curator and lecturer at the Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design; Iliana Tatsi, curator at CERN Science Gateway exhibitions; and Helga Timko, accelerator physicist at the LHC and member of the CERN Cultural Board.