CERN announces the Collide@CERN artists' residency programme

The Ars Electronica centre. Image: Nicolas Ferrando, Lois Lammerhuber

Geneva, 2 September 2011. A new kind of collision will soon be taking place at CERN1’s Geneva laboratory. The Collide@CERN artists’ residency programme means that, as well as colliding particles, CERN will be bringing scientific and artistic creativity into contact. The programme was announced today at the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria.

Collide@CERN is an important strand of CERN’s policy for engagement with the arts, Great Arts for Great Science, announced in August. Collide@CERN is an international competition that will run for a period of three years. Each year, artists working in different art forms will have the opportunity to take up a funded residency of up to three months. The programme is being made possible thanks to generous funding, to date from: Ars Electronica for the Digital Arts Prize (prize money); private individual donors (for the creative process grant/residency); and from the City and the Canton of Geneva for dance and performance (respectively for the prize money and creative process grant/residency). UNIQA Assurances SA Switzerland is the exclusive sponsor of all artists’ insurances for the Collide@CERN programme.

“Science underpins much of modern society and has an influence on the everyday lives of all of us,” said CERN Director General, Rolf Heuer. “As such, it’s important for scientific organizations like CERN to engage with society on many levels, and for us, Collide@CERN is an important element of that engagement.”

The first strand of Collide@CERN was announced in partnership with Ars Electronica, one of the world’s leading digital arts organizations and CERN’s official cultural partner. Artists are invited to apply for the Prix Electronica Collide@CERN prize for Digital Arts. The prize consists of a two-part residency. Two months will be spent at CERN, where the winning artist will team up with a scientist as inspirational partner; then one month will be spent at Ars Electronica, where the artist will develop work inspired by the time spent at CERN. Finally, the work will be showcased both at CERN and at the next Ars Electronica Festival, where the next application round for the Digital Arts prize will also be announced.

The second strand of Collide@CERN, covering the disciplines of dance and performance, will be unveiled in November. This strand has been made possible thanks to the generous support of both the City and Canton of Geneva.

“The arts touch the parts that science alone cannot reach, and vice versa,” said Ariane Koek, CERN's cultural specialist. Collide@CERN gives CERN, artists and scientists the opportunity to engage in creative collisions that can occur when these two areas of human creativity and ingenuity come together.”

Some of the world’s leading artists have agreed to be creative patrons of the Collide@CERN artists’ residency programme. They include Swiss architect Jacques Herzog, German visual artist Andreas Gursky, Japanese video artist Mariko Mori, Dutch photographer Frans Lanting, British musician Brian Eno and British sculptor Antony Gormley, who recently donated a sculpture to the laboratory.

“We are extremely grateful to our external funders, cultural partners and patrons who are making this latest CERN experiment possible,” said Koek. “Without them it could not happen.”

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CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

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