The project "How to receive the answer?" by Vasily Sumin created in a dialogue with scientists of the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Nizhny Arkhyz. It is based on materials about relic radiation received by mankind as a result of the European space Agency's Planck mission in 2009-2013. The artist offers modern methods of productive relationship between different types of positive scientific knowledge and poetic language, working with the latest data of astronomy and cosmology and hypotheses of quantum field theory.
Relic radiation is the oldest type of electromagnetic radiation we can detect in our Universe. It contains photons formed by the annihilation of particles and antiparticles one hundred thousandth of a second after the Universe began 13.79 billion years ago. Relict radiation freely propagates in space after cooling the primary plasma and its transition to a state of neutral gas 380 thousand years after the Big Bang. The current temperature of the relic radiation, which has significantly decreased since its inception, is 2.725 K (which corresponds to the millimeter wavelengths of the radio band) and has microscopic (at the level of one hundred thousandth of a degree) deviations, the physical properties of which helped scientists to obtain important information about the origin and evolution of the Universe: the density of the energy components of the Universe, visible matter, dark matter, the rate of formation of galaxies, age and curvature. To understand the information contained in the temperature inhomogeneities, a high-precision map of the relic radiation is decomposed into spherical harmonics, the sonification of which allows the radiation to be perceived at the level of human feelings. In 2018, the data obtained by the Planck telescope on relict radiation became a Central topic in the research of astrophysicists around the world, as a result of which humanity received a final and indisputable confirmation of the big Bang theory. Taken separately species a single planet realized the origin story of the world – from dematerialise a plasma state before matter formed in a highly organized nervous system, are able to reflect about their appearance.
The eight main harmonics of the relic radiation sounding in the space of the installation are microwave frequencies inaccessible to the ear, artificially lowered to the auditory range. The air vibrations created by the sound in the room affect the behavior of volcanic ash settling on the compositions of cut flowers. Modern physics the quantum field describes the existence of a hypothetical massless elementary particle, the graviton — the quantum of the gravitational field without electric and other charges, which is the carrier of the gravitational interaction. Graviton does not interact with time and always moves at the speed of light. The interaction of volcanic ash with the quantum of gravity at the micro level creates a hypothetical possibility in which gravity will act as an agent for data transmission, air fluctuations from data sonification will be able to go beyond space and time, and the signal containing the harmonics of the original microwave radiation of the early Universe, as well as the coordinate of the time mode, which can be extracted from the temperature of the relic radiation, will be sent to the timeless space in the artist built a kind of experimental laboratory setup.
If something capable of receiving our signals is in timeless space, it will not be able to understand this signal in time mode, but will be able to decode its temperature by the size of the waves of relic radiation. But Sumin wonders: how could humanity get the opposite answer? Civilization had repeatedly sent into space information in the form of video and audio signals, taking both the physical form (gold plate "Sadagura"), and the form of the clean radio signal (the Arecibo message, "Peace", "Lenin", "USSR"), which caused reciprocal criticism of the difficulty of their processing, decoding and the inability of scientists to think of alternative inhuman logic of conducting communication with another mind. Only a correctly asked question can help to get an answer, but what if humanity, having reached perfection in formulating questions, simply forgot how to listen?
Under the influence of sound-modulated air flow, volcanic ash settles on the composition of plants dying during the exhibition. Like any closed system for which entropy turns out to be an inevitable fact, flowers unable to escape the arrow of time are doomed to death and become an object in the ritual of sacrifice played by the artist within the dramaturgy of the scientific experiment. Consisting of the smallest particles of solidified magma volcanic ash, the same as it was during the birth of the planet and life on Earth, ambivalent in nature: it is destructive and dangerous to living beings, but is an important source of fertility almost due to the wealth of trace elements, which inspires hope for the imminent emergence of a new life on the soil saturated with it.
Sumin collides in one space the discoveries of advanced cosmology and the poetics of scientific progress in a kind of ikebana of physical forces, natural phenomena and archetypal materials. This artistic approach continues the tradition of interaction between poetry and positive knowledge in culture – from the works of Lucretius, Goethe and Shelley to the scientific poetry of rené Gil, developed in the late 19th century. Within the framework of the concept put forward by Gil, art and poetry in particular should comprehend reality, establish their relationship to the constant laws of history and sociology. Poetry should be a complement to science, and back. By the power of creative intuition, the poet must grasp the links between the elements of the world and life — which have not yet been established by precise knowledge, and anticipate new ways in which science can go to new conquests. And if art must be sent from the data of science, then, in turn, science must seek life-giving breath in art. Offering new ways of establishing interaction between different fields of knowledge, poetics of art and science, Sumin is looking for new approaches to the creation of an artistic language that is adequate to the challenges and problems of the coming decades.
Academic editor: Oleg Verkhodanov (Doctor of Physico-mathematical Sciences)
text: Alexander Burenkov
The project has been supported Gogova Foundation and personally to Mariana Guber -Gogova.