aisling o'beirn
artist documentation site

Installation shot, foam map of gran sasso

Installation shot


spike in the data 2012

third space, belfast
curated by hugh mulholland

'Spike in The Data
When scientists at CERNs Large Hadron Collider wanted to share potentially ground breaking results regarding the possible detection of the elusive theoretical elementary particle the Higgs Boson they stopped cautiously short of declaring the detection as a discovery using instead the term ‘Spike in the Data’ in relation to their findings.
The installation Spike in the Data’ takes its title from their loaded caution. It is part of a body of work called ‘Quantum Questions for Dummies’ informed by popular interest in some of the more abstract and speculative ideas regarding the structure of the universe. The work has been facilitated through ongoing dialogue with astronomers at Armagh Observatory.

The installation consists of a precariously balanced model of the mountain Gran Sasso in central Italy, accompanied by an animation of a possible Higgs boson event. Gran Sasso is the site of an underground lab where neutrinos, another form of sub atomic particle, fired from CERN were measured as having travelled at a speed fractionally faster than the speed of light. Scientists are also understandably cautious about this result giving the implications for current understandings of physics of the cosmic speed limit being broken.

These spikes in the data have resulted in physics being at a very interesting turning point.

If the Higgs exists it confirms the Standard Model as a theoretical framework which goes some way to explaining how the forces of nature work, if it does not exist the Standard Model is in for an exciting rethink.

If it’s proven that the speedy neutrinos actually did travel faster than the speed of light current understandings of the very nature of space and time as they are currently understood will need radical reworking.
The installation Spike in the Data attempts to consider these events from a layperson’s point of view.

Installation shot

Installation shot detail







Installation shot

detail of form