CERN, ALMA and ESO launch art residency program, Symmetry

24 October, 2018

The Symmetry program was launched to foster interdisciplinary exchange between artists and scientists working or living in Chile and Switzerland. It combines the residency of two artists in three of the most fascinating scientific research centers in the world: the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the astronomic observatories in Chile: ALMA and the VLT in Cerro Paranal.

Symmetry will invite one artist from Chile and one artist from Switzerland to a shared residency in each country. The experience seeks to connect artists with the community of physicists and engineers to further delve into the challenges of contemporary science through advanced technologies that explore and observe nature.

“I am proud to launch Symmetry, which I am sure it will make a significant contribution to the current challenges in interdisciplinary thinking, by fostering deep conversations and dialog between artists and scientists in Chile and Switzerland,” says Mónica Bello, Head of Arts at CERN.

In this first version, 8 artists from each country were invited to present their portfolios, which were reviewed by members of the participating institutions to select the final candidates to form part of this Residency: Nicole L’Huillier from Chile and Alan Bogana from Switzerland. The announcement of the selected artists was made at the 4th Meeting of Art, Science and Digital Culture in the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI), in Santiago, Chile.

The Minister of Culture, Art and Heritage, Consuelo Valdés, who participated in the event and supports the initiative, highlighted the alliances behind this project and revealed that: “We are convinced that the dialogue between art, science and culture it will nourish us of significant experiences for the cultural development for which we all work “.

Selected artists will visit the remote Chajnantor Plateau in the northern Chilean Andes, where 66 antennas from the ALMA radio telescope are located, and also the Very Large Telescope, an Observatory located in Cerro Paranal near Antofagasta. In Switzerland, the artists will be guest residents at CERN in Geneva.

Laura Couto Rosado, winner of Collide Pro Helvetia 2017, with scientific partner James Beacham. Credit: Sophia Elizabeth Bennett/CERN

Artist Laura Couto Rosado with scientific partner James Beacham at CERN. Credit: Sophia Elizabeth Bennett/CERN

“I am very pleased that the VLT and ALMA are part of this initiative, because art and science raise the spirits and remind us of the importance of treasuring the dimension of creativity, curiosity and discovery that, in a sense, defines us as humans and therefore should never be forgotten,” adds Claudio Melo, Representative of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.

Symmetry is a collaboration between Arts at CERN, ALMA, ESO and the Chilean Corporation of Video and Electronic Arts, made possible by support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the Chilean Ministry of Cultures, Art and Heritage through its New Media Area.

“The shared residency of two artists in two of the most extraordinary research centers in the fields of astronomy and particle physics will enable us to expand and explore the connections between new creative forms,” indicates Enrique Rivera, Director of the Chilean Corporation of Video and Electronic Arts.

The names of the artists who will participate in the first version of the Symmetry residency program were announced at the “Fourth Meeting of Art, Science and Digital Culture” held in the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI) in Santiago, Chile. Credit: Benjamin Matte, CChV

The names of the artists who will participate in the first version of the Symmetry residency program were announced at the “Fourth Meeting of Art, Science and Digital Culture” held in the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI) in Santiago, Chile. In the image, the Minister of Culture of Chile talks with the director of the Arts at CERN program, Monica Bello. Credit: Benjamin Matte, CChV

Additional Information

Pro Helvetia is the Swiss Arts Council. Within the framework of its 2017-2020 cultural exchange program “Coincidencia”, seeks to facilitate access by members of the Swiss art scene to professional platforms in South America, to foster cultural exchange and engage in new associations.

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where physicists and engineers research the fundamental structure of the Universe. Established in 2011, Arts at CERN includes art at the vanguard of scientific research and fosters the creation of new knowledge in the arts by extending the practice of artists to fundamental research.

CCHV, the Chilean Corporation of Video and Electronic Arts, has been developing research, productions and exhibits based on the Art-Science connection since 1993. It is responsible for the organization of the Media Arts Biennial of Chile. It organizes the “Space Arts” residency program, which consists of a series of activities where artists and astronomers work together to produce works of media art, documentary films and other educational and cultural productions designed to increase the understanding of astronomic science in Chile.

The Chilean Ministry of Cultures, Art and Heritage has the goal of formulating and applying policies, plans and programs that contribute to the harmonious and equitable development of culture and heritage throughout Chile.

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter / submilimeter Array, is the most powerful radio telescope in the world, located 5,000 meters above sea level, just outside San Pedro de Atacama. ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (U.S.) and NINS (Japan), along with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. ESO, the European Southern Observatory is a 16-nation intergovernmental research organization for ground-based astronomy. Created in 1962, ESO has provided astronomers with state-of-the-art research facilities and access to the southern sky. Its observatories are located in northern Chile.