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“Image Capital”: a new exhibition featuring CERN science and history


Events of particle tracks in experiment LEBC, LExan Bubble Chamber, installed in the North Area of the Super Proton Synchrotron accelerator
Events of particle tracks in experiment LEBC, LExan Bubble Chamber - the image is featured in the "Image Capital" museum exhibition (Image: CERN)

“Image Capital”, an artistic project by Armin Linke and Estelle Blaschke, explores the history and the present of photography as information technology. CERN and its community have supported the research for the project, which was coordinated by Arts at CERN through Armin Linke’s participation in the Guest Artists programme.

Image Capital takes the form of an exhibition in museums throughout Europe, supplemented by a digital publication. In one of its chapters, Image Capital explores the essential role of photography in the development of science, both as a way of producing images and as a recording instrument. In doing so, photography enables us to see processes that the human eye cannot perceive, such as the collisions of accelerated particles.

CERN science and history are tackled in three interviews with key voices in our community: Maria Fidecaro, Rolf Heuer and Peter Jenni discuss how detecting technologies and the visualisation of particle events have been developed and evolved at CERN. The video interviews can be accessed online on the publishing platform.

The museum exhibitions feature images of the LExan Bubble Chamber loaned from the CERN archives. Dating from 1981, the photographs of the Bubble Chamber remind us of the first methods used to visualise and create evidence of subatomic particles. Through these records, the project alludes to the role of photographs in a larger scheme of knowledge production in which images hold a central role.

In addition, the exhibitions feature photographs taken by Armin Linke during his recent visits to CERN, including pictures of the Data Centre, the CERN Control Room, a model of an ALICE event sensor and various close-up images of the LHC’s sensor cabling. This collection raises the question of photographs’ relationship with material infrastructures and of how they contribute to making these infrastructures visible and accessible.

The Image Capital touring exhibition has already opened at Museum Folkwang, Essen (9 September–11 December 2022) and Fondazione MAST, Bologna (22 September 2022–8 January 2023). It will travel to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation in Frankfurt in 2023.

You can explore the online publication here and watch the interviews with Maria Fidecaro, Rolf Heuer and Peter Jenni.