For her current practice, Brazilian artist Camila Sposati is interested in the links between art and chemistry, taking a hands on approach without losing a sense of wonder for the process. In particular she is drawn to the processes of entropy, order and disorder, and the tendency of matter to shift towards equilibrium. Using military rescue smoke as her material, Sposati temporarily disrupts selected urban and rural settings by setting off vivid clouds of artificially coloured smoke at unexpected moments.
In her clouds of smoke, the process of entropy is visually striking, as the initial chaos of colour is dispersed by invisible forces until it disappears completely. Through Sposati’s practice, the audience can consider such processes within a wider cultural and political context. We are inevitably drawn to consider change in a broader sense, that bursts of chaos are gradually reset and many processes are ultimately reversed.
Sposati worked with the chemistry department at University College London, hosted by Dr Andrea Sella and facilitated by Arts Catalyst, developing her practice around crystal growing processes. Crystals are ‘low entropy’ – the tendency of matter towards a more stable crystalline state is a much slower process than that in ‘high entropy’ smoke. But it seems to illustrate the same point. Both crystals and smoke are substances that fascinate – they sparkle and obscure – but energy, the driving force behind this process of entropy which controls both, remains invisible.