Life in Picoseconds, the 23rd experiment at Le Laboratoire, is a collaboration between French design team Millimetre, video artist and scientist Charles Reilly, artist Daniel Faust, artist and researcher Anna Ondaatje, and Le Laboratoire founder David Edwards. Integral to the Life in Picoseconds experience is an extraordinary new form of digital representation, the Atom Screen. With the Atom Screen, still and moving images appear on swirls of particles that move in chaotic and prescribed ways between glass panels, producing unusual, abstract, and realistic representations that convey emotive, artistic, and scientific impressions.
The Atom Screen represents a new impressionistic movement in digital screen technology that departs from the advance of digital screens toward hyper-realistic representation.
In the exhibition, several works by New York-based photographer/artist Daniel Faust, taken from his recent exhibition Silicon in San Jose, California, appear next to a large vertical Atom Screen. These images, depicting starkly poetic moments and visions of Valley reality, appear on the Atom Screen as superpositions on randomly scattered particles that cover fractions of the screen surface, which disintegrate and reconfigure from minute to minute.
Further into the exhibition, a second, larger Atom Screen hangs in the center of the gallery. Particles rush in ceaseless motion and provide a kind of thermal agitation to the original film Life in Picoseconds by Charles Reilly.
Reilly’s film is a molecular simulation of a protein molecule unfolding in the picosecond time-frame of molecular life. Here the Atom Screen provides a more realistic atomistic relief and a here-not-here quantum perspective on the molecular unfolding process. Visitors can walk around the Atom Screen and observe Life in Picoseconds as a positive or negative moving image or sit and experience the entire unfolding process, which lasts around 20 minutes.
Life in Picoseconds is an interdisciplinary exploration of aesthetic representation in the digital medium where the substrate becomes an active partner to the projected digital image, in the way analog materials participated in the abstraction of modern art.
Wyss Spotlight: Charles Reilly is a Staff Scientist and Anna Ondaatje is a Fellow at the Wyss Institute.
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