Friday, October 8, 2010

A Commentary of Josef Kristofoletti's LHC Mural

Normally I wouldn't cover a story already covered by the larger more active blogs, but my large passion of street art and fondness for the science of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has over ruled my ambition to stay positively unique.

The above time-lapse video depicts the creation of mural featuring the ATLAS experiment of the LHC @ CERN. Titled, "Angel of the Higgs Boson", the mural features the impression of a collision between two particles travelling at near the speed of light that are assumed to produce the Higgs Boson: an as yet to be discovered theoretical elementary particle.

Josef Kristofoletti painted this mural in 2008 for the Redux Contemporary Art Centre as part of "The Sun Machine is Coming Down" exhibition. It was this mural that attracted the attention of ATLAS communicator Claudia Marcelloni who subsequently invited Josef to paint the walls of the real thing - or at least a service building of the real thing.

You can see Josef's progress from begining, to middle, to end via the CERN document database. There are also photos of the unvieling of the finished work.

Note worthy is the breaking symmetry blog entries regarding Josef's original ATLAS mural and the ATLAS ATLAS mural.

Begining| Copyright CERN
What I find most fascinating about Josef's murals is that he was particularly inspired by the comparisons drawn between the LHC and the buildings of religious institutions. That is, Josef saw CERN, the LHC and ATLAS as an "unprecedented cathedral of science" and so thought it befitting that like the religious type, it have it's own mural.

On the surface, science and religion are diametrically opposed but at a deeper level, they're edges get blurry. Both evolved from the one human need to be able to explain our surrounds and although they have evolved to become quite distinct, Josef's work reminds us of their similarities and particularly their connection to art.

In Progress | Copyright CERN
Josef's inspiration is important for another reason, as it reminds us of the various religious faculties that have successfully used art and imagery to deliver their message to the masses for hundreds of years.

The link between imagery and emotion has played an important part in religious communication. Through imagery art is able to play on our emotions and thus transcend ordinary communication allowing it to extend beyond borders, cultures and language. If a picture paints a thousand words, it does so in many many languages.

Completed | Copyright CERN
Josef's work is an example of a growing chorus of artists and scientists working together in communicating science to the greater public whilst simultaneously opening the eyes of artists and scientists to cross disciplinary work.

Already Josef has plenty ideas of what science based murals may be next. Hopefully, Josef's work can further influence other scientists, in other disciplines to work with artists in order that we may adequately inform the public about scientific progress.

In the ever increasing pace of the modern world and scientific discovery a new focus will be needed and Josef is showing us the way.

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