Infra-idol Assembly (Thinking the Unthinkable)

Steven Claydon | United Kingdom, 2019

Infra-idol Assembly

For this piece, originally commissioned for DARK MATTER at Science Gallery London, Steven Claydon used footage from The Boy And His Atom, the world's smallest stop-motion animation. Developed by IBM Research nanophysicists, the film was made by moving carbon monoxide molecules with a scanning tunneling microscope, a device that magnifies them 100 million times. For Infra-idol Assembly (Thinking the Unthinkable), Claydon reanimated stills from the film, showing the ‘boy’ confronting the camera, and added audio of atoms being manipulated. Standing at the precipice of the unknown, this rudimentary figure provokes us to unlock the mysteries of all matter, as it blinks and thinks its way into the dark.


Steven Claydon’s work explores the cultural histories and narratives acquired by objects and artworks over time, which is often at dramatic odds with their ‘original’ values or functions. Encompassing sculpture, painting, video and performance, his art examines the disjunction between the essential materiality of objects and their ascribed meanings or connotations.

Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ and Science Gallery London