slowly built up using tiny pieces of wallpaper before painting, David Wightman’s painstakingly-created canvases show a strange greyscale world of mountains, rocks and glaciers cut through by striking colour rivers. taking kitsch mountain scenes as their starting point, the fifteen works now on show at Halcyon Gallery transform traditional landscapes into something starker and altogether more foreboding


the Handcrafted Particle Accelerator

what if we could look ourselves up in a parallel universe? what if we could predict our future using DNA? what if we could build a particle accelerator at home? UK-based designer Patrick Stevenson-Keating creates projects which not only solve problems, but ask questions. for Milan Design Week, we teamed up with him to create the world’s first handcrafted glass particle accelerator read more


with spring just around the corner and migratory birds returning north, this timely lunchtime lecture at The Royal Society looks at Francis Willughby – the man who basically invented ornithology. Professor Tim Birkhead FRS will explore how he and John Ray produced the landmark publication The Ornithology of Francis Willughby in the mid 1600s, which set the scene for future studies of birds, fish and insects

image: plate 42 of Birds of America by John James Audubon depicting the Orchard Oriole


delicate and highly detailed studies of the flora and fauna of the Pacific islands provide the inspiration for Carlos Noronha Feio’s latest work, now showing at IMT Gallery.  Plant Life of the Pacific World  is a series of gracefully collaged photos of nuclear explosions, alluringly echoing the forms of the natural world as classified by American botanist E.D. Merrill’s book from which the exhibition takes its name. the book’s dry classification of plant forms is transformed by Noronha Feio into an explosive revelry of intense, amoebic forms bursting forth as deadly chain reactions


from artists like David Lynch and Patti Smith to mathematicians like Cédric Villani and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere is a true meeting of minds at the Fondation Cartier in Paris read more

guest post: a new physics?

with all the recent talk about faster-than-light particles, we thought it timely to bring you selected excerpts from physicist Ben Still’s Neutrino Blog looking at how such speeds might be possible, what that means for physics and how we might have seen this all once before read more


sited at nearly 2400m above the Atlantic ocean, surrounded by utter darkness, the observing site at the European Northern Observatory on La Palma offers astronomers some of the best views of the night sky on Earth. every evening, the various telescopes there unveil and activate their advanced optics to begin tracking the stars – imaging hazy nebulas, distant galaxies and far-off worlds. located on the westernmost of the Canary Islands, the facility is perched high along the rim of an ancient volcanic caldera, far above clouds that drift towards the coast of Africa. silent and remote, it is truly a world apart – an island at the edge of the Universe

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worlds in the making

turning away from the star that has inspired much of their previous work, film/art duo Semiconductor’s first major UK solo show at FACT in Liverpool looks at the volcanic processes that have shaped the earth from within. the main work is projected over three screens, juxtaposing the work of the Instituto Geofisico Volcano Observatory in Tungurahua, Ecuador alongside stunning videos of the volcanoes and animations of crystals growing deep below the ground


if you missed Katie Paterson‘s 100 Billion Suns in Venice there’s another chance to see it at Constellations in Manchester, where a canon will fire 3261 pieces of confetti whose colours correspond to specific gamma ray bursts – the brightest explosions in the universe. for us non-Mancunians, July 4 is a good day to go thanks to a screening and Q&A exploring the special effects that went into creating Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe


opening today at London’s Sumarria Lunn Gallery, David Rickard’s Time+Trace centres on Exhaust – a 24-hour experiment during which the artist collected his exhaled air for an entire day in a series of foil bags. other science-leaning works include mediations on constellations and pigeon droppings, random chance and, in Stored Capacity #1, the transmutation of lead into gold on heavily-laden shelves



plenty of cosmic happenings next week, starting with Nelly Ben Hayoun and Nahum Mantra’s ongoing Kosmica series at The Arts Catalyst with guests like Dr Jill Stuart, Alicia Framis and Jem Finer – artist in residence in the astrophysics department at Oxford University. next up, Science Fair™ drops by The Amwell Street Knocking Shop for a night of vintage shopping, astronomy, film and badge-making. and finally, if you’re up super early (or out super late) look out for a clutch of planets in the morning sky




the strange land between science fact and science fiction has produced some the most inspiring ideas, images and imaginings yet seen, which is why the British Library’s new Out of This World season has got us freaking out. combining far-out legends like Alan Moore and George Clinton with serious real life business like tonight’s ‘Fixing the Planet: Have we Finally got some Concrete Options?’ it’s science meets fiction uptown, in a library!



opening today at Saville Row’s Hauser & Wirth gallery, Matthew Day Jackson’s new show features coloured skulls, re-covered LIFE magazines, a repurposed B-29 and this work: a long, panelled landscape based on a Mercator map that replicates the moon’s surface through laser etching on drywall



you might know recent RCA graduate Nelly Ben Hayoun from her immersive, science-leaning installations – which range from Super K inspired tunnels to a chair that recreates the launch of a Soyuz rocket. now, working with explosives designer Austin Houlsdworth and in consultation with volcanologist Dr. Carina Fearnley from UCL, she’s only gone and created a volcano that slowly spews smoke and debris into your living room. ‘The Other Volcano’ is currently on show at East London’s Space In Between gallery and will later and will also be part of the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference later this year


fifty years ago tomorrow Major Yuri Gagarin became the first human to leave the earth below and fly into space, orbiting the planet once in his Vostok-1 capsule for 108 minutes before parachuting down in the Saratov region of Russia to be greeted by confused locals. the launch of Chris Riley’s First Orbit promises to be among the highlights of the anniversary, which reminds us that although our progress into space sometimes seems to move at a glacial pace, it’s only been fifty short years since the voyage began


created and designed by the highly-talented William Rowe of Protein® fame, the Chromo™ colour system tracks daily and lunar cycles through the use of beautiful, vivid colours. building on this, their 2011 calendar takes the lunar positions for the whole year and maps them out using a CMYK colour fade. it’s plastified, so feel free to drool away at its niceness (and enter our competition to win one!) over on super/reader





entitled Cosmolology + 1, Peter Coffin’s new show at Herald St starts with the premise that “if cosmology is the study of the universe (from the Greek cosm-, universe, order + -logy, systematic study of), then cosmolology is the systematic study of the study of the universe, and +1 perhaps the study of the study of the study of the universe.” the result is an installation of floor-to-ceiling neon lights, photographs of clouds alluding to a 19th century method for Photoshoping skies onto landscapes, and this rather random but lovely doorway full of vines

_Peter Coffin, Cosmolology + 1, Installation view, 2011, Herald St, London. Courtesy of Herald St, London


at its brightest, the full moon reaches an apparent magnitude of –12.92, casting shadows and illuminating the ground here on earth. fitting then, that East London’s lovely Luminous Books is celebrating this weekend’s full moon – known in folklore as the Hunter Moon – with an evening of rare books, lunar maps, art by Nahoko Kudo and, of course, hula hooping


_cover detail from The Moon In Focus by Thomas Rackham, courtesy of Luminous Books


just a quick one this week as we’re sending this from the top of a volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma, in the Canaries. we’re at the European Northern Observatory high above the clouds, where some of the world’s most advanced telescopes are based, to shoot a film as part of the 24 Hours, Here series. after a disastrous first night in which high winds claimed our camera (!) we’re heading back to the summit now to try again tonight. you can see more pictures and follow our progress here


_the Gran Telescopio Canarias at sunset


in Werner Herzog’s 2004 documentary The White Diamond, we are introduced to Dr Graham Dorrington – a London-based aeronautical engineer who builds airships to explore the ethereal canopy layer high above the world’s tropical rainforests. we caught up with Graham over on the reader this week to chat all things aerial ahead of the Treetop Odyssey event at the ICA this weekend


_the various strata of a typical forest