Art and science come together at PLANTA

Geo-technology experts from the University of Barcelona and the British studio Semiconductor develop an installation that unites art and science through seismographic data collected in the industrial complex of the Sorigué group in Balaguer (Lleida), where PLANTA is located.

“Earthworks” will consist of five giant 5’5 metre screens placed in zigzag, in which animated graphics inspired by ground strata surrounding the PLANTA location.

The Semiconductor studio of artists, formed by the British duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, have previously carried out residencies in scientific research centres such as NASA, CERN, and the Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

The installation will be presented worldwide in June 2016 at SonarPLANTA.

PLANTA is the meeting point between the company and its foundation. A project that articulates the social responsibility commitment that Sorigué has with society, with its values and the future.


“Earthworks” is an installation that represents the formation process of the Earth and the constant changes that occur in its structure and landscape, from those caused by natural phenomena (earthquakes, erosions) to those produced by the effects of human activity and that define a new geological era: the Anthropocene.

The artists have worked in the Sorigué industrial complex to record seismic waves in the terrain with which to create the piece. This seismic data has been obtained from the PLANTA surroundings with the help of experts in geo-technology from the Faculty of Earth Sciences at the University of Barcelona, in addition to the public record IRIS (Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology). Thus, the installation also incorporates a series of vivid and recent data that directly correlate with the new Anthropocene era.

Five large screens arranged in zigzag serve as the support for this multi-channel video installation. “Earthworks” projects animated high definition graphics that represent the movement of the layers of the earth down to the smallest detail: layers that melt and separate in constant motion, driven by seismographic data from phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and glaciers, and converted by the British artists into a mesmerizing and enveloping stream of sound.

Semiconductor introduce the use of scientific methods in their creative process; in this case, the use of geo-models, a technique used by geologists to study the formation of the land by applying various physical forces on dyed sand to observe the behaviour. Similarly, the animated graphics of “Earthworks” react differently depending on the sound that is applied at any given moment.


“With this installation, we wanted to create an experience that speaks of the phenomena of landscape formation, using the language of science to study these phenomena; employing seismological data to control geo-models, a technique used by geologists to study the formation of the Earth. We not only wanted to play with the idea that earthquakes have shaped the landscape around us, but also with the fact that, being phenomena that have taken place beyond man’s existence, they can only be experienced through the scientific mediation of nature. We wanted to create a piece that is a celebration of modern science, a sublimation of technology through the creation of a rich and lush animation. But at the same time we want the viewer to consider the problem of experiencing nature only through scientific and technological observation.”


SonarPLANTA is the joint initiative of Sónar and the Sorigué Foundation, which began in 2014, and aims to promote and celebrate research and experimentation of creative languages around technology and new media art.

Since its inception, SonarPLANTA annually invites three artists, renowned in the field of art and technology, to present a new project of New Media Art that takes the basis of inspiration from PLANTA, the project driven by the Sorigué business group and the Sorigué Foundation.

The selected piece is produced exclusively by the Sorigué Foundation for SonarPLANTA and is presented to the public at the annual Sónar Barcelona.


PLANTA is located in the industrial complex of La Plana del Corb de Sorigué in Balaguer (Lleida), a space for artistic creation and business innovation in which art, architecture, industrial process and natural landscape coexist.

Driven by the Sorigué business group and Foundation, PLANTA brings together the knowledge of a business group with more than 60 years’ experience and their vision for the future through their commitment to innovation.

The industrial landscape blends with the natural environment at PLANTA and the art spaces, in which works of renowned figures of international art are presented.