Laboratory of Dark Matters

Laboratory of Dark Matters


“Everything that we can see, all the matter that we can detect in the entire Universe

 is less than 5% of what we believe to be present”


Laboratory of Dark Matters is a response by artists to scientific investigations into the unknown nature of the universe and how we interpret the visible world; opening a dialogue between scientists and artists who are each driven by curiosity and seek answers to fundamental questions about matter and consciousness.

In May 2016 a group of artists visited the Boulby Underground Laboratory 1100m below ground in Boulby Mine on the North East coast of England. Under the guidance of Dr Chamkaur Ghag, an astroparticle physicist, and other scientists working on dark matter detection, the artists were transported to a hot and dusty environment beyond the reach of cosmic rays and background radiation that could distract from the search for dark matter particles. The artists gained direct experience of this hidden environment and a glimpse into the dedicated world that the scientists inhabit in their quest to discover what the universe is made of.

The search for dark matter is a scientific endeavour but also requires a large degree of faith in both the existence of these elusive particles and in the scientists’ ability to recognise dark matter, should they eventually detect it. For artists, creating work is often about searching for some unknown and embracing an unexpected outcome.

Laboratory of Dark Matters aims to echo the ethos, aspirations and to some extent physicality of the underground scientific research facility. In defining this space the artists will conduct their own research, record their evidence and create work for an exhibition that will evolve during the Guest Projects residency. Boundaries between art and science will become blurred as investigations proceed and explore not only the physics of our existence but our beliefs and mythologies.

The public are invited to witness the work as it develops, attend talks, workshops, screenings and performative lectures and participate in experiments that inspire alternative interpretations of the outcomes. There will be opportunities for discussion with the artists and the scientists through a programme of events, social media interaction and live video links to the UK’s deep underground science facility. The results from Laboratory of Dark Matters will be analysed, published and further experiments will be developed to inspire future projects, returning to the North East area and other locations as a continuing dialogue.

Participating artists: Amy Gear, Daniel Clark, Elizabeth Murton, Kate Fahey, Luci Eldridge, Melanie King, Peter Glasgow, Sarah Gillett, Susan Eyre.