Process of Acceleration

Based on research about Grenoble, this piece speaks about the technological and environmentally focused innovation hub that Grenoble has become. The geographic setting of Grenoble, amid the mountains and rushing rivers, allowed for the early advancement in hydrological energy and how that energy source paved the way for much greater advancements in science and technology today. The figures become an allegory for the technological advancements of humans through history, pulling the water from the neighboring rivers and harnessing energy into innovation throughout time. At the top of the wall sits an architectural drawing of a particle accelerator, the ESRF: European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, which is in Grenoble. This site becomes a stand-in for the current height of human technological advancement where particles are accelerated at the speed of light to create powerful X-rays used to examine matter on a molecular level. A pursuit of understanding the world around us is crucial to creating change, but how this knowledge is used and what change is created is the constant friction of civilization, an aspect emulated within the expressions of the figures.

Hidden within the work there is a tiny fragment from ESRF, the longest beam line from the drawing is the actual research station, ID21 of a scientist I met on my visit to the ESRF, Marine Cotte. Marine uses the powerful beams created from particle acceleration to study the degradation process of paint on artworks. She gave me two yellow samples from her study of Van Gough’s famous “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” which was then embedded into the mural, furthering a connection to the site and the two-way road of artwork investigating scientific pursuits and scientific pursuits investigating art. To see more from my visit to the ESRF, you can see my highlighted story on Instagram.

Thank you to @grenoblestreetartfest for the amazing experience and hard work, to @esrf_synchrotron for the incredible visit of the facility and to Marine Cotte for being so curious and supportive during the entire creative process.

Acrylic + Aerosol on Concrete

Photo Credit: Artist and Andrea Berlese

Process Video by Christophe Tong Viet