Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand & RySQ

Articles on the collaboration: 

Meet the Atom

The shape of the invisible

Evelina Domnitch (b. 1972, Minsk, Belarus) and Dmitry Gelfand (b.1974, St. Petersburg, Russia) create sensory immersion environments that merge physics, chemistry and computer science with uncanny philosophical practices. Current findings, particularly in the domain of mesoscopics, are employed by the artists to investigate questions of perception and perceptibility. Such investigations are salient because the scientific picture of the world, which serves as the basis for contemporary thought, still cannot encompass the unrecordable workings of consciousness.

Having dismissed the use of recording and fixative media, Domnitch and Gelfand’s installations exist as ever-transforming phenomena offered for observation. Because these rarely seen phenomena take place directly in front of the observer without being intermediated, they often serve to vastly extend the observer’s sensory envelope. In order to engage such ephemeral processes, the duo has collaborated with numerous scientific research facilities, including the Physics Institute of Goettingen University, the National Institute of Advanced Sciences and Technologies (Nagoya), and the European Space Agency. They are recipients of the Japan Media Arts Excellence Prize (2007), and four Ars Electronica Honorary Mentions (2013, 2011, 2009 and 2007).

Along the course of our artistic research, we have constantly stumbled upon droplets, bubbles and foams. Our explorations of physically and chemically stimulated liquids and gases led us to these ubiquitous interfacial gradients between different conditions of energy/matter. From imploding sonoluminescent bubbles and laser-beam-trapping soap bubble membranes to acoustically levitated oil droplet networks, the phenomena unfolding in our artworks evoke the cellular nature of reality. The fundamental prebiotic tendencies towards membrane formation also happen to arrive at a nebulous crossroads where hides our cherished muse: the initial transition from lifeless to living matter.

Among the numerous experiments that have striven to re-enact this pivotal scenario, we are most fascinated by the recent efforts of bottom-up synthetic biology to create life-like, environmentally responsive protocells out of non-biological ad hoc chemical ingredients. This research has opened an immense spectrum of physicochemically tailored colloidal suspensions, which not only can alter the course of materials science, but also that of aesthetic, philosophical, and ecological investigations.

Evelina and Dimitry will be working with RySQ who are setting out to use Rydberg atoms for quantum simulations in order to path the way towards a quantum computer.

Robert Spreeuw, University of Amsterdam (RysQ):

Podcast: Tommaso Calarco

Quantum physicist Tommaso Calarco discusses his relation to contemporary art and shares his experience of collaborating with the artist duo Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand in the art-science FEAT residency programme.

Podcast: Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand

Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand talk about their fascination for light that led them into quantum physics to create art installations and performances. They present and discuss their approach to art and to art and science collaborations and detail their specific project in relation to the FEAT residency.