CONTINUUM - Susan Eyre

Original image from NASA Mars Exploration Rover - Manipulated image - Alan Smith 

Aóratos - A site specific installation with fire and film presented at Allenheads Blacksmith’s Forge.

Black holes were once thought to be pure science fiction but in recent decades scientists have discovered that these extraordinary objects exist throughout our universe in all shapes and sizes and this year astoundingly have even produced an image of one.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity written in 1915 predicted the existence of black holes and is also consistent with the possibility of gravitational tunnels known as wormholes. It could be that there is a hidden web of planck scale wormholes linking all points in space. Theoretically, threaded through these tiny holes would be filaments of cosmic strings created in the primitive goo of early matter and flung across space when the universe burst into existence.

However, to traverse space by means of a wormhole would require vast amounts of negative energy, not something usually found on Earth yet in the current political climate in no short supply.

The risks and obstacles of entering a wormhole include creating enough negative energy to open the wormhole mouth wide enough to weaken the gravitational tidal forces which would rip travellers apart; keeping it from collapsing so travellers are not indefinitely trapped inside; exceeding the speed of light and avoiding incineration from deadly high radiation.

During the Continuum midsummer weekend visitors will be invited to burn offerings of negative energy to power a ‘wormhole’. Special paper will be provided for people to write, draw or just scribble their own symbols of negative energy. These offerings will be burnt in the forge hearth releasing any pent-up negative energy to the wormhole portal above.

Visitors may then ascend the stairs entering the portal to the vortex video installation. The video work explores hidden landscapes, the distortion of space and the permeability of barriers such as force fields and human skin to the unseen particles that constantly teem at near light speed across the universe.

As part of this project I am working with students Sena Harayama, Romain Clement De Givry and Medad Newman from Imperial College Space Society supervised by senior lecturer in spacecraft engineering Dr Aaron Knoll. We are attempting to launch a cloud chamber in the payload of a high-altitude balloon. A cloud chamber enables us to see ionising trails made by radioactive and charged particles. Cosmic particles continuously collide violently with the Earth’s atmosphere then break up and shower down upon us.  We are hoping to capture this cosmic ray activity on video as well as a view of Earth’s atmosphere as it blends from blue into the darkness of space.

Aóratos translates as ‘unseen’. The idea for a hidden portal to other worlds located at Allenheads Contemporary Arts seemed appropriate as this unique place draws both artists and visitors to repeatedly return and enjoy its particular atmosphere.

© 2018 Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 9HR