Snap, crackle, pop. The world is alive with invisible magnetic field lines. Take a length of wire with a current running through it; it generates a magnetic field that curls around the wire, but we can't see it.
Video artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, who work under the moniker Semiconductor, shot footage of empty lab space at UC Berkeley's Space Science Laboratory. Then they brought the inanimate objects to life, painting in the vivacious spaghetti of magnetic field lines coming off the unassuming electronics. The pair, who hail from London, spent four months "researching and experimenting" at the northern California lab, which tackles a smorgasbord of space physics topics, from the search for extra terrestrial intelligence to solar flares. One might say that the scientists were "researching and experimenting," and that the artists were watching. Or one might say that Semiconductor's appropriation of raw satellite data of coronal mass ejections was a form of data processing, and that when they videotaped the lab's scientists trying to answer one very tough question, they were trying to prod the borders of science's domain.
I should warn that Semiconductor's magnetic field lines, while certainly beautiful (especially with all the added space-noises!) are not what the field lines of these objects actually look like. (The scene with the wires is the biggest give-away.) But I think the artists skillfully evoke this invisible force, even if they're not portraying it in a way true to nature. Think impressionism rather than realism.