Ruth Jarman (b. 1973, Fareham) and Joe Gerhardt
(b.1972, Oxford; both live in Brighton) founded Semiconductor in
1997. In their practice they explore the underlying forces and
processes behind the appearance of the world. Working
closely with scientists, in particular in astronomy and
geology, they trace how science affects our experience and
observation of the world.
They are interested in the volcanic geology of the Galápagos and undertook extensive research prior to their visit in January and February 2010, which they then continued through a research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's Mineral Sciences Laboratory in Washington DC later that year.
Semiconductor primarily works with moving images, animation, documentary and archival footage. Major works resulting from their Galápagos residency and subsequent research include Worlds in the Making (2011), a moving image installation blending animation and documentary footage of volcanologists at work and that of landscapes with active volcanoes. The botanists' practices on the Galápagos became the subject of their short film Indefatigable (2010), which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2010.
Sound plays a key role in their work. They studied closely the recordings of seismographic data on the Galápagos through graphs, and the volcanologists' translations of heard sound into verbal descriptions, which in turn were recreated for the soundtrack of Worlds in the Making. Most recently the artists have been experimenting with paintings that are inspired by lava flows.