Art meets science at VU based Hybrid Forms Lab

February 28, 2019

Artistic and scientific research combined into an exciting artwork at new VU-based ArtScience labora-tory Hybrid Forms Lab. GAMeC, the prestigious Italian art museum, acquires artwork from artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand; artists are based at the VU physics & astronomy department Hybrid Forms laboratory, part of the Demonstrator Lab.

The ArtScience Laboratory of the Physics and Astronomy department of Vrije Universiteit, Hybrid Forms, proudly announces the acquisition of art works conceived and executed within the laboratory. Resident artists  Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand were invited to create artworks for the exhibition Black Hole: Art and Materiality from Informal to Invisible at GAMeC (Galleria d’arte moderna e contemporanea), Bergamo, Italy.

With the technical assistance of Hybrid Forms artist Simone Hoang,  Domnitch and Gelfand produced a series of rayograms (one-of-a-kind cameraless photographs) based on their artwork ER=EPR, a liquid analog of entangled black holes. Upon completion, three rayograms were acquired for a sum of € 10.000. These monumental rayograms measuring 2 x 1.5 meters, are now part of the permanent art collection of GAMeC, comprised of such renown artists as Kandinsky, Giacomo Balla and  De Chirico,.

The artwork is a collaboration with LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory-CalTech and MIT), composer William Basinski, physicist Jean-Marc Chomaz and VU LaserLab. The ER=EPR piece is regularly on view at Hybrid Forms Lab and currently on display in Bergamo. ER=EPR is a visualization of two co-rotating vortices, joined together by a slender “wormhole like” bridge, drift through an enormous aquarium. Laser light hitting the water’s surface transforms the vortex pair into a moving lens, projecting onto the ceiling two black holes encircled by shimmering halos.

To create the rayograms, the Hybrid Forms laboratory was converted into a dark room. Large sheets of photosensitive paper were affixed to the ceiling and exposed for a few milliseconds, capturing the hyperfine fluid dynamics of the vortex pairs. Among the remarkable characteristics of laser light is the capacity to project focused images at any distance. The resultant prints are the first rayograms ever created with laser light.

Hybrid Forms Lab is part of Demonstrator Lab. Providing researchers and students from all science disciplines with office and laboratory space in an entrepreneurial-minded academic environment. Demonstrator lab is made possible by the valorisation program ‘IXAnext: a collaboration of UvA, HvA, VU, Amsterdam UMC and the research institutes AMOLF and Nikhef. It is partly financed by the City of Amsterdam and aims to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship in education and research.

For more information contact

Dr. Raoul Frese, director of Hybrid Forms Laboratory and principal investigator applied photosynthesis and energy at LaserLab at the physics and astronomy department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Email: | Phone: 020-5987263