The exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London draws inspiration from the work of mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – better known as Lewis Carroll – and the adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Exploring the work’s origins, adaptations and reinventions over the space of 157 years, this immersive and theatrical show charts the evolution of Alice’s adventures, from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages. Concepts of space, time and scale run throughout Carroll’s books, evoking alternative realities through Alice’s tumble down into the rabbit hole. The exhibition will run until 31 December 2021.
The final part of the exhibition, Quantumland, presents the work of artist Mariele Neudecker and designer Iris van Herpen, guest artists of Arts at CERN.
The Eye: A.L.I.C.E, created by Mariele Neudecker, invites the viewer to travel to the underground world of the ALICE experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It consists of a film which focuses on the scientific endeavour of the last century for the study of the fundamental structure of matter. Neudecker is the recipient of the first of a series of three art commissions, made possible thanks to the support of the Didier and Martine Primat Foundation and its special fund Odonata.
In Neudecker's words, “With my work, I am exploring interphases and overlaps of two and three-dimensional realities as well as analogue and digital worlds. The collisions in the LHC are invisible and imperceptible to us in real time and always happened in the past – yet they are made tangible, visible and experiential. With Alice in Wonderland and Quantumland, one enters a similarly impenetrable layering of reality and fiction, which allows encounters of these two entities to become both physical and abstracted, enmeshed and enchanting.”
Fashion designer Iris van Herpen focuses on exploring matter, which she describes as: “Creation, evolution, nature, us. It’s the source of all energy and all our questions.” Displayed together with Antony Howe’s voluminous Omniverse sculpture, her piece Infinity dress was inspired by her several visits to CERN. The sculptural dress and kinetic halo create a moving visual illusion, reflecting ideas of transformation, gravity and materiality.
On 29 June, the Victoria and Albert Museum and CERN joined forces to invite teachers and students to join the CERN Classroom Live. This online event offered schools around the globe the possibility to go behind the scenes of the Laboratory and hear about the work of physicists, artists and curators at CERN, and how creativity works across cultures. Speakers included Dr Despina Hatzifotiadou, physicist and researcher in the ALICE experiment, Mónica Bello, curator and head of Arts at CERN, and Kate Bailey, senior curator at the Victoria and Albert museum.
The virtual event included introductions to the Victoria and Albert's Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition and to Arts at CERN, as well as a virtual tour of the ALICE experiment, where students and teachers could see the experimental cavern, the control room and learn about physics at the LHC.
271 primary and secondary schools in the UK took part, as well as schools in Taipei, Los Angeles, Warsaw, Komorow, and Haaksbergen. Some 5000 students aged 11-18 joined the event!