We’ve heard a lot about Higgs Boson particle and CERN in the last few weeks but very little about a very interesting programme running currently there with Julius von Bismarck as it’s resident. Lunched earlier this year, the ‘Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN Digital Arts Prize’ was awarded to Julius in conjunction with a two-month residency at CERN. While everyone was busy talking to scientists trying to understand what they were on about, Frieze magazine’s Barbara Preisig sat down with Julius in the cafeteria and asked “What colour is your Higgs particle?”.
von Bismarck has a small office on the campus, in one of the many shed-like storage buildings. When I visit, CERN turns out to have little in common with how I imagined it. The LHC lies 100 metres below ground and is currently out of bounds due to high radiation levels. So the artist spends his working hours, not in futuristic computer labs, but in the cafeteria, talking to theorists and experimental physicists. Their conversations revolve around concepts like dark matter, supersymmetry or hidden valley, and around questions that can no longer be framed in the imagination, let alone verified in reality. Such issues pose new challenges not only to particle physics but also to art. How can such abstract ideas be linked to the material world in real terms? Should we imagine a Higgs particle as having a colour and a shape?
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