What if we could look at the sun with x-ray vision (contact x-ray plates on the Vulcan Target Area West vacuum chamber, 36 separate shots)
Alistair McClymont with C M Brenner, S R Mirfayzi, D R Rusby, C Armstrong, A Alejo, L A Wilson, R Clarke, H Ahmed, N M H Butler, D Haddock, A Higginson, C Murphy, M Notley, P Oliver, R Allott, C Hernandez-Gomez, S Kar, P McKenna and D Neely
36 photographs (200cm x 193cm), research paper, welded shut aluminium cube containing hair dryer (20cm x 20cm x 20cm)
Essay on artwork: https://goo.gl/QN96xR
Research paper: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0741-3335/58/1/014039
This artwork is presented as a collaboration with scientists at the Central Laser Facility in England. The goal was to investigate the strong similarity between scientists and artists. The hypothesis is that both ultimately search for truth and both see beauty in that truth.
McClymont was invited to take part in a month long experiment to investigate properties of the worlds most intense laser and he performed a number of actions that were important to the experimental process. This resulted in his inclusion as an author on the research paper, published in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. The paper included the X-ray images of a test object created by McClymont as well as his images of plasma from within the equipment.
The composite X-ray image of the test chamber image was created by McClymont by attaching X-ray plates to the vacuum chamber during the course of the experiment, it is credited to all of the authors of the research paper, which included McClymont. These artefacts, the X-ray photograph, the research paper, and the test object, become a single artwork. They are an attempt to conceptually unite the endeavours of art and science. McClymont became a scientist and the scientists became artists in quite a literal way: the art and science became inseparable.
The scientists aim was to demonstrate the effectiveness of laser technology to see through layers of material using X-rays and neutron beams. In addition to creating test objects to be blasted by X-rays and imaged by the team McClymont also set up diagnostic equipment that was able to image the plasma formed by the laser in great detail, these images proved crucial to the experiment. These contributions resulted in McClymont's inclusion as an author on the research paper, published in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. The paper included the X-ray images of my test object and a photograph of the plasma from the equipment mentioned above.
The composite picture of the vacuum chamber, imaged with X-ray sensitive plates reveals the X-ray beam created by plasma. As the laser hit a target within the chamber it created a plasma, this plasma was as hot as the sun, with pressures similar to the centre of the earth and formed a miniature particle accelerator, bathing the chamber in X-rays. The whole chamber was imaged by attaching plates onto the outside of the chamber in a different place every time a new laser shot took place. The result is a two-metre-by-three-metre image of the vacuum chamber bathed in X-rays and revealing the internal structure and the plasma inside. The experimental equipment, nuts, bolts and the chamber itself casts an image in the X-ray light.