n_body crash by Marie Kølbæk Iversen

Inspired by the connection between textiles and digital technologies, and the wish to explore the fluid  boundaries between the material world of object-making and the immateriality of the digital platform, Kvadrat has invited artist Marie Kølbæk Iversen to create its first digital commission.

n_body crash is a digital work by Marie Kølbæk Iversen and a new iteration of her long-term project Io/I (2015-), which investigates the transversal entity ‘Io’: a priestess from the Greek-Roman mythology and the namesake of Jupiter’s innermost moon. n_body crash is inspired by the chance convergence between the name ‘Io’, the binary coding of information technology (0/1, O/I, IO, Io), and the binary structure underlying woven textiles, built on the grid of warp and weft.

According to the myth, Io was a young woman who, after being raped by Jupiter, was transformed into a cow and condemned to wander the earth. In 1614, German astronomer Simon Marius named one of Jupiter’s moons after the mythological character and, via this designation, symbolically locked ‘Io’ in orbit around her assailant for the rest of eternity.

n-body_crash creates a new imaginary chapter in the story of ‘Io’, through a collaboration with astrophysicist Ole Busborg Jensen, the work simulates lunar Io’s escape from the gravitational pull of Jupiter. Hit by an asteroid cluster, the moon dissolves and is simultaneously released from her orbit.

The python code that underlies the astrophysical simulation of Io’s liberation has been translated into binary code, resulting in a series of coloured, digital renditions of the 0/1-language that fill the screen to run its script. The simulation is accompanied by a text on the mythological story of Io and Jupiter, the curse of the naming and the long-due liberation of Io, in a call to reassert female power in the patriarchal cosmography of modern science.


The website is developed in collaboration with design studio, Alexis Mark and can be viewed on: http://www.n-body-crash.io/


n_body crash is commissioned by Kvadrat and curated by South into North.