Tate Modern Talk

Harnessing Light: Roger Hiorns, Flow Motion, Harald Haas, Kishan Dholakia, chaired by Sean Cubitt

Light carries form, colour and materiality to our physical world. How are we harnessing and manipulating it to re-imagine the spaces and places we inhabit, to construct virtual worlds and understand our own bodies? From gas lamps to LEDs and medical lasers, this panel of artists, scientists and theorists asks what role light plays in the discovery of new frontiers in art, design, technology and medicine?

With artists Roger Hiorns and Flow Motion, professor and engineer Harald Haas and professor of physics Kishan Dholakia. This event will be chaired by Sean Cubitt.


Panelist biographies

Roger Hiorns is an artist nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009 with his installation Seizure, commissioned by Artangel, for which he filled an apartment in London with copper sulphate solution resulting in an interior fully covered with gleaming blue crystal formations. Hiorns typically combines two basic elements, which are simultaneously opposite and supplementary to each other – ceramic pots with moving foam, metal with fire, a car engine with growing crystals – thereby transforming the objects and materials to give them a new function and meaning. Hiorns studied at Goldsmiths College in London and had solo exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield (2013), MIMA, Middlesbrough (2012), Aspen Art Museum, USA (2010), and The Art Institute of Chicago, USA (2010).

Founded in London in 1996, Flow Motion is composed of multimedia artists and musicians Anna Piva and Edward George. Flow Motion’s installations, audio art, performance presentations and web based projects have been exhibited and performed internationally at such venues as the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pompidou Centre, the International Institute for Visual Arts, the Science Museum Dana Centre, the Steirischer Herbst Arts Festival in Austria and Star City’s historic Cosmonaut’s Club in Russia. In 2011 Flow Motion created the sound art work Explorations in Eleven Dimensions in collaboration with Dr. David Berman, Reader in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary University of London, and Dr. James Sparks, Tutorial Fellow, Oriel College Oxford University. Flow Motion’s multi media project, promised lands (2008-10), was the subject of an artists’ research residency at Iniva, performance presentations at the International Symposium on Electronic Art (2009) and Tate Liverpool ’s Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic season (2010), and the online image, music and text archival project Promised lands. In 2007 Flow Motion created Invisible, the second of a trilogy of art-science projects, installed in the observatories of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University and performed at the Science Museum Dana Centre. Flow Motion’s writing has been published in Leonardo, The Journal of Media Practice, Anomalie Digital, Changing States: Art & Ideas In an Era of Globalisation, Sonic Process, Wiley Blackwell’s Encyclopaedia of Global Human Migration.

Harald Haas holds the Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interests are in optical wireless communications, joint optical wireless and RF communications, spatial modulation and massive MIMO, interference coordination in wireless networks as well as energy and spectral efficient wireless technologies. Haas has invented and pioneered Spatial Modulation. He introduced and coined ‘Li-Fi’ which was listed among the 50 best inventions in TIME Magazine 2011. Haas was an invited speaker at TED Global 2011, and his talk has been watched online more than 1.5 million times. He is also the co-founder and chief scientific officer (CSO) of pureLiFi Ltd. In 2012, he was the only recipient of the prestigious Established Career Fellowship from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) within Information and Communications Technology in the UK

Kishan Dholakia is Professor of Physics at the University of St Andrews Scotland and an honorary adjunct Professor at the Centre for Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. He heads a large group working in various aspects of photonics including micromanipulation and biophotonics, which won the European Optics Prize in 2003. He was elected to the position of Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2007 and Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2008. In 2008 Dholakia also received a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award and in 2009 was made a fellow of SPIE, USA. In the broader area of Biophotonics, he has interests in cell transfection with light, neuronal growth and advanced forms of Raman spectroscopy to tackle interface problems.

Sean Cubitt is the Joint Head of Department and PhD Admissions Tutor for the programme in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths. Cubitt is currently researching the history of visual technologies, media art history, and relationships between environmental and post-colonial criticism of film and media – three strands that converge around the political economy of globalisation and aesthetics. He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals including Screen, Cultural Politics, Animation, International Journal of Cultural Politics, Visual Communications, Futures, Time and Society, fibreculture, MIRAJ and The New Review of Film and Television Studies, and a series editor for Leonardo Books, MIT Press. Sean Cubitt is half of the thriller-writing team Lambert Nagle.

Part of the International Year of Light in collaboration with the Institute of Physics.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

21 November 2015 at 17.00–19.00