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There’s more to it than meets the eye 2019

Part of DARK MATTER: 95% Of The Universe Is Missing

Science Gallery London

London, UK

There’s more to it than meets the eye 2019  pencil on paper 2100x1310mm (detail)

Curated by Sandra Ross, DARK MATTER: 95% Of The Universe Is Missing includes works by Agnieszka Kurant, Aura Satz, Tomás Saraceno, Carey Young, Andy Holden, Yu-Chen Wang, Gianni Motti, Semiconductor, Steven Claydon, Enrico Sacchetti, Nina Canell and Robin Watkins, Emilija Škarnulytė, Agnieszka Kurant and Tavares Strachan.

One of the biggest mysteries in physics today is what exactly makes up our Universe, and why – according to the world’s leading scientists – 95 per cent of it cannot be observed.

In summer 2019, Science Gallery London explored the elusive building blocks of the Universe with DARK MATTER, a free exhibition and events season combining art, physics and philosophy, and drawing on the latest research from the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences at King’s College London.

Normal matter – everything that we can see and observe – makes up just 5 per cent of the Universe. The rest, including dark matter and dark energy, is an unknown which scientists have been hunting for nearly a century.

As scientists approach the limits of what can be observed or known within theoretical physics, DARK MATTER at Science Gallery London highlights the critical role of artists, philosophers and storytellers in our understanding of reality.

Imagining the unseen and questioning the invisible, the new season will explore fundamental physics, matter and materiality, the concept of invisibility and infinite divisibility, and the human quest for absolute truth and knowledge.

Why does dark matter really matter?

Yu-Chen Wang's new installation There’s more to it than meets the eye shines a light on the personal stories inspiring physicists to dedicate their working lives to researching dark matter.

Research into dark matter is multi-disciplinary. Scientists work with extreme scales - from quantum to cosmic, from particle physics to astrophysics. Wang chronicles the three different methodologies scientists use to try and detect it: conducting experiments deep underground; searching for it in outer space; or attempting to make it at places like CERN “as long as you have the right ingredients”.

Central to the artist’s practice is drawing, which allows her to explore and meditate on the mechanisms used to understand the fundamental nature of reality. In painstaking detail her new pencil drawing depicts in hybrid form various machine parts from scientific instruments used in physics, including those that look for dark matter.

Her script is based on the many conversations she's had with physicists at King’s College London, UCL, University of Liverpool, LJMU and at CERN, and is testimony to her own personal “brain bending and mind boggling” journey. She ponders on philosophical questions around scientific truth and the limits of knowledge. Is the theory of dark matter untestable?

Running time 7m15s

Commissioned by Science Gallery London.

Courtesy the artist

Voiceover: Helen Arney

Sound design: Capitol K

Special thanks to Dr. Malcolm Fairbairn, King’s College London; Dr. Mairi Sakellariadou, King’s College London; Dr. Christopher McCabe, King’s College London; Dr. Chamkaur Ghag, University College London; Dr. Jon Butterworth, University College London; Dr. Tara Shears, University of Liverpool; Dr. Mike Houlden, University of Liverpool; Dr. Andy Newsam, Liverpool John Moores University; Arts at CERN; FACT, Liverpool. Image courtesy of CERN, The LZ Dark Matter Experiment, SLAC, The XENON experiment, SLAC, SNOLAB and NASA.