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Dive into the subatomic world at Art Basel

HALO, an artwork conceived during the artists’ residency at CERN and inspired by ATLAS data will be exhibited from 13 to 17 June at Art Basel.


Dive into the subatomic world at Art Basel

HALO, the immersive art installation at Art Basel (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/CERN)

Semiconductor duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt
The Semiconductor duo, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, were CERN artists-in-residence in 2015. (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/CERN)


Merging particle physics and art, a CERN-inspired artwork is being featured for the first time at Art Basel, the international art fair in Basel, Switzerland from 13 to 17 June. A large-scale immersive art installation entitled HALO is the artistic interpretation of the Large Hadron Collider’s ATLAS experiment and celebrates the links between art, science and technology.

Inspired by raw data generated by ATLAS, the artwork has been conceived and executed by CERN’s former artists-in-residence, the “Semiconductor” duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, in collaboration with Mónica Bello, curator and head of Arts at CERN. During their three-month Arts at CERN residency in 2015, Semiconductor had the chance to explore particle-collision data in collaboration with scientists from the University of Sussex ATLAS group and work with them on the data later used in the artwork.

HALO is a cylindrical structure, measuring ten metres in diameter and surrounded by 4-metre-long vertical piano wires. On the inside, an enormous 360-degree screen creates an immersive visual experience. Using kaleidoscopic images of slowed-down particle collisions, which trigger piano wires to create sound, the experience takes the visitors into the realm of subatomic matter through the multiple patterns generated in the space. HALO is conceived as an experiential reworking of the ATLAS experiment. Its data sets and its complex assemblage is suggestive of the technology associated with scientific endeavour.

“Ruth and Joe have created an immersive installation that conveys fundamental research with innovative ideas and artistic creativity in an extraordinary artwork. HALO is an opportunity for visitors to see how scientists and artists work together, inspiring each other and bringing to life unique visions of our world.” - Mónica Bello, head of Arts at CERN.

The artwork is the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission. Every year, an artist-curator duo is selected to realise a new artwork that explores complexity and precision, while enlisting contemporary creative practice, complex mechanics, technology, and science. HALO is a collaboration between Audemars Piguet and CERN through its arts office, Arts at CERN.

HALO can be viewed and experienced from 13 to 17 June, at Messeplatz Basel, at Hall 4U during the public opening hours (10:00 to 21:00). Entry to the installation is free and suitable for all audiences.