The lasers and super precise movements of the performers in Infinity Minus One interpret the behaviour of cosmic rays and the scientific devices used to detect them. We chat to choreographer Su Wen-Chi about the residency that inspired the work and the intriguing connection between art and science.
You have produced Infinity Minus One, the second work in the Rainbow Trilogy as a follow on from your residency at CERN, the world’s largest particle research centre. What was the most influential part of your time there?
To witness the Large Hadron Collider, meet with the physicists, and to feel the impulse of thinking/doing in this well-constructed hive-like team.
In your artist statement you reference your own sensual experience in the Cloud Chamber experiment. Can you expand on what the experiment is and share your experience?
Particles physics is the core research field of CERN, and yet after a week of being there, I realised that it seemed impossible to see/hear the particle. I was introduced to a device called Cloud Chamber, a particle detector used for visualising the passage of ionizing radiation. They told me the moving mist-like trail I saw were the tracks of moving particles, which are actually around me constantly and cutting through my body. That was a fascinating vision.
How did the collaboration with Senyawa emerge and what role do they play in the wider performance?
When working in Jakarta in 2015, I was introduced to Senyawa’s music and later attended their live concert in London. Senyawa have a very powerful and magnetic presence, which immediately reminds me of the big bang. Big might not refer to a gigantic event by itself, but contains a great intensity and the impact of this event lasts. With Wukir and Rully, we work on how energy evolves in the performance, how they and the dancers give each other energy and motive to go further.
Why do you think the link between art and science is so intriguing?
Science and art open up an intriguing way of thinking about the world. I appreciate “thinking in scale” – when you feel trapped thinking about the next ten years, consider the next 1000 years and you might find a better answer.