Artist Cornelia Parker has teamed up with Nobel Prize winning scientist Konstantin Novoselov to create a new work for the reopening of Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. The piece (intended as a reflection on the Gallery's historical collection) will be made of graphene the material Novoselov helped develop and for which he won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2010.
The graphene – a one atom thick sheet of carbon arranged into a honeycomb structure – will be created using microscopic samples of graphite taken from items in the gallery's collection including a drawing by William Blake and a letter from physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford. These will then form the basis of an electronic humidity sensor that will form the trigger system for a fireworks display (itself based on Blake's The Anchient of Days).
Parker regularly works with the ideas of material transformation, her best-known work being Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, popularly titled "The Exploding Shed", which will also be in the exhibition as part of a small retrospective of her work.