COLLIDER: CERN's artist-in-residence program


Editing a magazine and working for a science engagement center at Northwestern, most of my job is connecting people to science. Often, I do this by connecting science to art or education or everyday things (and sometimes Star Wars). Science is everywhere!

So I was very excited to hear CERN’s Artist-in-Residence program is open for the next round of applications. Arts@CERN’s COLLIDE program welcome artists from any creative field, and artists can be of any age or nationality. The work which comes from the project could be anything --  previous awards have resulted in a sound sculptures and a contemporary dance pieces. The only goal is to distil aspects of the research in some interesting way, and encourage innovative, interdisciplinary interactions with CERN scientists.

Judges select proposals which explore the cultural significance of science, and artists are expected to demonstrate “an active interest in research methodologies” and “in the processes of fundamental science and particle physics”.

Given the scope – two months in residency and a decent stipend to develop the work -- this could be a genuine opportunity to for creative dialogue and innovation.

Had I time to spend two-months in residence in Switzerland (yes, please!), I’d love to develop a multi-sensory virtual world peeking inside the collider. It’s such a hard thing to visualize – these high-energy beams colliding at almost the speed of light.

I’d love to attempt to represent the processes -- all that energy! all those magnetic waves! -- in some visual symphony,  bringing the size and speed of protons the experiments to a human scale (or rather, shrinking the viewer to the scale of the action).

Bonus points if I can figure out how to make it fully immersive, lowering the temperature to reflect the cold conditions required for this sort of experiment though I wouldn’t recommend to the full ‑271.3°C in the LHC: that’s colder than outer space.

If you or any artists you know are interested, proposals can be submitted through May 23rd, 2016. And if you steal my idea, be sure and send us a postcard.

Oh, and if you’re not an artist, did you know that CERN also host school field trips, teacher training programs and student internships? There are lots of ways to get involved, no paintbrush required.



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