Perception of the Extreme Unseen

From Mathematics to Aesthetic Coherence




Jan-Henrik Andersen

University of Michigan




The nature of my work is to lift the veil on the optically impossible task of visually observing subatomic particles by translating the Standard Model into a coherent visual language. No one has ever seen, nor will anyone ever see, anything as small or fast as a Quark or a Neutrino; one could argue that they could look like anything, if they have looks at all. One the other hand, a translation to visual aesthetics of their properties and behavior may offer a basis for a discussion of their visual qualities. The proposal, as seen in the Fermilab Gallery, contextualizes the particles in a syntax where their properties like velocity, color, mass and spin are represented as visual elements within an order of itself. And perhaps yet more important, a visual perception of subatomic particles and their interaction makes this fantastic and beautiful world available to a broader audience.