Audemars Piguet unveils HALO

Joe Gerhardt and Ruth Jarman

Audemars Piguet unveiled details of its 4th Art Commission, HALO, which will be exhibited during Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, from June 13th to 17th 2018.

This year, the Audemars Piguet Art Commission has been conceived and executed by British artist-duo Semiconductor, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, in collaboration with guest curator Mónica Bello, Spanish curator and head of Arts at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva.

Audemars Piguet collaborates each year with a selected curator and emerging or mid-career artist to realise a new artwork that is premiered during one of Art Basel’s three international shows. The aim is to amplify the artist’s unique vision, while using the complexity and precision inherent in watchmaking as the artist’s stimuli. This year, Mónica Bello helped select Semiconductor whose work reflects the continuing exploration of these themes, celebrating a dialogue between contemporary art, science, and technology.

Titled HALO, the large-scale, site-specific artwork presents visitors with an artistic interpretation of the Atlas experiment at CERN. The large-scale, immersive experience allows viewers to better understand subatomic nature and the complex phenomena taking place at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Artists-in-residence at CERN for two months in 2015, Semiconductor have used raw data from the Atlas experiment in their work. HALO takes the form of a ten-metre-wide cylinder-shaped structure that is entirely surrounded by vertical piano wires. Standing four metres tall, the interior of the installation is encircled by a 360-degree screen on which visitors can observe kaleidoscopic data projections generated by a series of slowed-down subatomic particle collisions that ordinarilly occur almost at the speed of light. As they hit the screen, the animated data points also trigger small hammers to hit the surrounding piano wires, emitting an all-encompassing vibration that resonates throughout the artwork, to be experienced both acoustically and physically by visitors.

The installation marks the first time an artist has received permission to work directly with raw data generated by the Atlas experiment, thanks to the involvement of Audemars Piguet and CERN.

June 14, 2018