Science and art: Unlikely partners create beauty

By Lee Woo-young

London-based art trio Troika presents installations that cross the boundary between science and art

  • Published : Apr 10, 2014 - 20:30
  • Updated : Apr 10, 2014 - 20:30
In this wired society, checking Facebook news feeds and Twitter updates is an hourly routine. Swipe the screen of your smartphone and you will instantly be immersed in a sea of information. Social networking services have become so addictive that the first thing many people do after waking up is fiddle with their smartphone to check for updates that arrived while they were asleep.

This modern-day obsession with staying updated is critically observed by London-based art trio Troika in its latest exhibition. The weather forecast installation on view at Daelim Museum in Seoul updates weather information every 30 minutes. But what appears is the temperature and the weather conditions of the day before. 
From left: Troika members Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel. (Troika/Daelim Museum)

“Technology occupies us with limitless information. And it’s a twist on our obsession with communication in a highly connected society,” said Sebastien Noel of France at the press preview of Troika’s exhibition. Troika consists of German artists Eva Rucki and Conny Freyer and French artist Noel, all graduates of the Royal College of Art.

Troika seeks to examine what’s beyond the technology we are familiar with by incorporating scientific models and theories into art.

Their experimental art practices range from drawings and sculptures to installations. Their works have been shown at prominent museums such as MoMA New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Britain. 
“The Weather Yesterday” criticizes modern society’s obsession with keeping updated. ( Troika/Daelim Museum)

Commissioned by Swarovski Crystal, “Falling Light” creates a surreal, beautiful sense of walking on ripples of water. About 50 devices attached to the ceiling send white lights from LEDs. The lights go through the Swarovski crystal optical lenses, creating expanded circles on the floor.

“This work reflects on the usual perception of the use of technology against the nature. We created the natural, peaceful images by using the combination of complex technologies,” Rucki said.

In contrast to the beautiful side of technology, the trio captures somewhat darker aspects in “Electroprobe Installation,” an installation of electronic devices from which currents are transformed into sound by a magnetic microphone.

“This is made to test your awareness of real objects. Electronic devices are reorganized according to the sound they produce, not their functions,” said Noel. Common electronic devices surrounding us, such as a CD player, computer monitor, printer and phone, are arranged in circle. At the center, a specially designed magnetic microphone rotates, capturing the sound each device produces. The result is a low vibrating squeaky sound.

Troika further experiments with scientific methods in the light installation “Arcade.”

Inspired by Isaac Newton’s sketch of an experiment with sunlight refracted through a prism, “Arcades” creates illusory gothic arches with light. The light emanating from the light box curves after being reflected on Fresnel lenses, creating arches.

The “Light Drawing,” an electricity drawing shows the play of electricity on a piece of white paper by sending a high voltage of electricity onto the surface.

The exhibition “Persistent Illusions” continues through Oct. 12 at Daelim Museum in Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-0667, or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)