Archives for posts with tag: Quarks

What information could be stored in dark matter?

1711 The Forms.jpg

Before we could attempt an answer to this question we first had to decide what we meant by ‘information’.

The Dark Matter Day Discussion Group at UCL’s Institute of Education was a cross discipline event looking at three texts as catalysts to spark conversations about dark matter research, ideas of discovery, knowledge and materialisms.

Symmetry Magazine: The origins of dark matter.
From the primordial soup of the Big Bang to freeze-out and the WIMP miracle.

Chantal Faust: Dark Matters  – a specially commissioned essay for Laboratory of Dark Matters

Kader Attia: The Loop
Planetary Computing (Is the Universe Actually a Gigantic Computer?)

Creation, transition, destruction, decay. Matter is constantly regenerated. Our perception of broken is negative. Information is not ‘lost’ but released and absorbed.

Turning to Carlo Rovelli for an insight; The word ‘information’ is highly ambiguous being used in a variety of contexts from mental and semantic (“the information stored in your USB is comprehensible”) to mathematically quantifiable  (“the information stored in your USB is 32 Gigabytes”). There is physical information which is based on correlation that adheres to the laws of physics and meaningful information that leads to intentionality, agency, purpose and function. Physics is not a science about how the world is: it is a science of how the world can be.

We questioned if we have lost ancient knowledge and ways of understanding. Our senses are capped but it is possible to gain enhanced consciousness through forms of meditation and how is this experienced?

Further reading to explore perceptions of reality, self awareness and consciousness; David Bohm On Creativity and with Bryan Hiley The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

1710 The Publications

Two publications were also launched.

Laboratory of Dark Matters – a project overview publication with an introduction to Dark Matter and Boulby Underground Laboratory and contributions from participating artists. Daniel Clark, Luci Eldridge, Susan Eyre, Kate Fahey, Amy Gear, Sarah Gillett, Peter Glasgow, Robert Good, Melanie King and Elizabeth Murton.

Also an artist edition of the insightful poetic essay from Chantal Faust with layout designed by Daniel Clark to reflect the challenge of negotiating dark matter.

1711 Publication essay

Many events were scheduled to mark the newly established Dark Matter Day which the STFC decided should share the date with Halloween.

The Royal Astronomical Society hosted a symposium convened by chair of the Dark Matter UK (DMUK) Consortium, Dr Chamkaur Ghag (UCL). Understanding the nature of Dark Matter is one of the most important scientific missions of our time. UK researchers are at the forefront of Dark Matter research: modelling its impact on cosmology in N-body simulations; mapping its distribution with weak lensing studies; seeking direct detection in highly sensitive detectors buried deep underground; searching for signatures of Dark Matter annihilations in space; and even trying to produce some new Dark Matter at the LHC. The afternoon’s speakers were Dr Andrew Pontzen (UCL) on Dark Matter in the Cosmos, Prof. Henrique Araujo (Imperial College London) on Searching for Dark Matter, Prof. Jocelyn Monroe (Royal Holloway University of London) on Global Impact from Dark Matter Research and Prof. Malcolm Fairbairn (King’s College London) on Theories of Dark Matter.

1711 Royal Astronomical Society (1).jpg

Following the inspiring project proposal judging dinner with Yinka Shonibare, when difficult decisions were made, the successful proposals for Guest Projects 2018 have been announced. Having been a part of the process I am excited for all the groups and anticipating some excellent projects.

1711 Guest Projects.jpg

Ugly Duck “Ways of Sensing” talk during the “Making It Real” festival explored the intersection of analogue and digital technologies.

The speakers were Lewis Bush and Levin Haegele  who use spectrographic, infrared and satellite technologies to process alternative ways of capturing information.

Levin Haegele sounds like an a very useful person to know. His mission is to realise the impossible dreams of artists. He also converts cameras to shoot in infra red and ultra violet.


1711 Levin Haegele flatfordmill21200

Levin Haegele shot with converted IR camera


Lewis Bush spies on international spy networks listening in to their coded messages, plotting their signal origins and collaging together complex satellite maps of remote terrains.


1711 Lewis Bush spectrum-3-HM01

Lewis Bush from Shadows of the State


Night time visit to Vitrine showing THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER from Wil Murray.

1711 Wil Murray

Swirling and mutating, the image origins are echoes of locations where his family circus performed that were also the locations of “balloon bomb” strikes. The seasons marking time, summer and winter negatives overlaid and partially obscured with painted brush strokes. Painting out of history or the subconscious.

How information is lost or passed on is addressed in Blade Runner 2049 set in a dystopian future coping with a catastrophic digital data wipe leaving a gap in history.

1711 Blade Runner 2049

A short visit to Everything At Once at Store Studios, curated by Greg Hilty and Ossian Ward  for Lisson Gallery in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory.

Despite his rather selfish egotistical patenting of Vanta Black I have to admit Anish Kapoor makes visually intriguing works.


1711 Anish Kapoor 1

Anish Kapoor At The Edge of the World II



1711 Ai Weiwei.jpg

Ai Weiwei Iron Tree Trunk


1711 Dan Graham 1.jpg

Dan Graham Two V’s Entrance-Way


1711 Rodney Graham Vexation Island

Rodney Graham Vexation Island (still)


1711 Allora and Calzadilla

Allora and Calzadilla Solar Catastrophe

Alma Thomas showing in Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern. (At 80 was the first African American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972.)Fascinated by the space age she followed daily reports of NASA’s Mariner 9 mission to photograph Mars. Huge dust storms on the planet prevented images from being relayed back to earth but inspired her to make this work.

2011 Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas Mars Dust (detail)

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into The Future

1711 Ilya and Emilia Kabakov 2

Great title – Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into The Future, for me conjures an image of the time when we have to leave this planet for some new home and there are only a few spaces available on the spaceship, though really it is talking about being remembered, having a legacy that lives on.

1711 Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Human engagement for the storage of information in opposition to death cannot be measured with the same scales used by the natural scientist. Carbon-dating tests measure the natural time according to the information loss of specific radioactive atoms. However, the artificial time of human freedom (“historical time”) cannot be measured by simply turning carbon-dating formulas around, so that they now measure the accumulation of information.” Vilém Flusser

Sam Hodge created an atmospheric immersive experience at The Crypt Gallery, Kings Cross for White Noise, a collective that presents works investigating a world filled with omnipresent background noise, explorations of ‘seeing the unseen’, ‘zones of indiscernibility’ and the ‘indeterminate’, and the freedom of the imagination to fill the void.

1711 Sam Hodge Vibrant Matter 1.jpg

Sam Hodge Vibrant Matter

“The Sun, the Moon, the Earth and its contents are material to form greater things, that is, ethereal things – greater things than the Creator himself has made” John Keats, 1817

The Live Creature and Ethereal Things  excellent discussion event at Arts Catalyst initiated by  Fiona Crisp as part of her ongoing research project Material Sight of non-documentary photography and video to interrogate extremes of visual and imaginative representation in fundamental science and technology. She has also visited Boulby Mine.


1711 Fiona CRISP Pump Lodge

Fiona Crisp Pump Lodge (from Boulby Series, Subterrania)


Participants included Tara Shears, Suchitra Sebastian talking about emergent particles and new states of matter that require new language to describe, Nahum Mantra demonstrating the Theremin and talking about mesmerism and invisible forces and arts Catalyst director Nicola Triscott. How to make big science more intimate.

Tara Shears clarity on the structure of the universe containing just 12 ingredients (quarks and leptons) held by 4 fundamental forces brought home a happy analogy for me with the 12 sided dodecahedron Plato’s representative shape of the universe.

1711 Diazographo

This has prompted me to look closer at Dante’s cosmology as a description of a finite universe, now known as the 3-sphere universe.

I am enjoying making intuitive connections to link the attributes of each heavenly sphere with those of the quarks and leptons. inspired by mythology going back to my reaction when I first came across the seemingly autological names of the quarks and leptons. Up Quark would be the Empyrean and Down Quark earthly paradise and the plucky Muon who appears in my cloud chamber takes Mars for Virtues and courage.

1711 cosmic trail

Fiona Crisp warned against the dangers of art and science collaborations instrumentalising each other. Her work attempts to present an image to be viewed without trying to extract knowledge as in documentation. To evoke time, distance and scale yet create an intimacy of looking and embracing productive doubt.

“Both those taking snaps and documentary photographers, however, have not understood ‘information.’ What they produce are camera memories, not information, and the better they do it, the more they prove the victory of the camera over the human being.” Vilém Flusser

Following Fiona Crisp’s research into sharing knowledge combined with the act of making. ‘Origami-Folding the Local Universe’.   I learnt of the Council of Giants, a ring of 12 large galaxies surrounding the Local Group of which our milky way is a member, in the Local Sheet (where nearby galaxies share a similar velocity). Another key 12 to consider.

1711 council of giants


Two everydaymatters circles showing at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair with Thames-side Studios.

1711 Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair

everydaymatters (Paradise Passage #1 N7) sold

1710 everydaymatters (paradise passage #1 N7)

Back in the studio I pulled out some work I started a long while ago but never finished. Avondale Rialto is from when I was looking at the exotic names given to the prosaic caravan, when escape is an ideal never realised. It ties in with the idea of a paradise to be found. I may do some more work with this.

1711 avondale rialto

Below the pavements and around the foundations of the City’s offices lies a layer of Dark Earth: the debris from the collapse and decay of lost centuries including that of Roman London. Powered by wiretapper, Dark Earth audio experience led us from a secret rendezvous to the underground ruins of a Roman house via a rambling narrative attempting to create a steamy atmosphere appropriate to a bath house and pill (tic tac) popping time travel back to a civilisation teetering on the edge of its downfall.

1711 billingsgate bath house.jpg

“Human engagement for the storage of information in opposition to death cannot be measured with the same scales used by the natural scientist. Carbon-dating tests measure the natural time according to the information loss of specific radioactive atoms. However, the artificial time of human freedom (“historical time”) cannot be measured by simply turning carbon-dating formulas around, so that they now measure the accumulation of information.” Vilém Flusser

The duly received wordpress pre posting sharing alert –  ‘a broken connection requires repair’ takes on new significance after our dark matter day discussions.

‘The omnipresence of repair in the universe is without a doubt the sole reason it is shared by both mathematics and art. It is a primary characteristic of human biological and cultural evolution. Without the process of repair, there would be nothing — neither chaos nor stability. Everything is guided by the determinist agency of repair.’ Kader Attia


I wondered what the building blocks of the universe looked like and found myself on the Cern website reading about Quarks and Leptons. I discovered the language of particle physics to be quite like that of mythology – inhabited with mysterious characters like the charm quark and strange quark, the muon neutrino and the tau governed by fundamental forces that cannot be seen or explained other than by their attributes – like the mythical gods. I am intrigued by this mysterious world.

The name “quarks“ was chosen for the three fundamental particles of all matter from a nonsense word used by James Joyce in the novel Finnegan’s Wake:“Three quarks for Muster Mark!“ – the first sentence of Finnegans Wake completes the end of the last sentence – the book’s circular structure reflects the theories of the philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) a major source of inspiration for me this past year. Vico published his theories for a new approach to the study of human history in Scienza Nuova, he viewed human history as cyclical along with the natural cycles of the earth – night and day, life and death, rise and fall, civilization and breakdown.

Quarks are explained in the theory of the standard model – a mathematical formula which explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact – it provides the best explanation so far but does not explain everything. According to current theory the matter we know which is what makes up all stars and galaxies is only 4% of the content of the universe. Dark matter makes up about 26% of all matter and the remaining 70% is referred to as dark energy, it is even more mysterious than dark matter but it may be what is causing the expansion of the universe. I found these statistics extraordinary. This has led to a new piece of work I am beginning work on.

Every Day Matters 1

Susan Eyre Every Day Matters 1

I have been reading ‘Impossibility – the limits of science and the science of limits’ by John Barrow about how what we don’t understand has defined society as much as by what we do. That we can know what we cannot know is one of the most striking consequences of human consciousness.  All human experience is an edited account of full reality – our senses prune information – our eyes do not see the full spectrum – we summarize, compress and abbreviate the world around us. Religious and Mystical explanations do a similar thing, they make the world manageable.

Despite warnings in mythology that to possess all knowledge will lead to no good we still try to understand the unknowable.

According to current debate we may now be at an impasse where science can no longer offer us an answer. It might be that not everything in the world can be explained through materiality and there are some things we will never understand. The answers may be hidden deep in the subatomic world or the dark recesses of the universe, or we may never answer the big questions about the origin of matter and human consciousness.

Reading Robert Pogue-Harrison’s book Forests – the shadow of civilization, introduced me to Giambattista Vico and his speculation on the myth of forest dwelling bestial giants primordial fear of thunder which led me to reading about the Tasaday Tribe of the Philipines  – modern day forest dwellers who also feared thunder. The controversy over the authenticity of the tribe has raged since the first media revelation of their existence with implications that the corrupt Marcos regime were involved in the debunking of the story in order to plunder the Tasaday forest home for resources. I then find myself immersed in the midst of the most powerful musical rendition based on the remarkable life of Imelda Marcos  – Here Lies Love – at the National Theatre.

David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim - Here Lies Love

David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim – Here Lies Love

Also colourful and immersive, I loved A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok – The End of The Gods  – a delicious imagining of Norse mythology full of lavish imagery. There are many ways for the world to end.

Nietzsche wrote ‘Every culture that has lost myth has lost, by the same token, its natural healthy creativity.’

I have just started A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession to find Vico popping up again as a main thread in the storyline. It seems he is everywhere I look at the moment.

Visited Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA. There is a particular flavour here but I’m not sure I can articulate what it is.

So pleased for the talented Ben Zawalich and Alice Gauthier 2014 graduates who were among several RCA printmaking graduates in this show.

Alice Gauthier Tourne  video still

Alice Gauthier  video still

Ben Zawalich

Ben Zawalich

I did enjoy the video piece by Emely Neu though not sure if it was on any other level than how I enjoy the absurdity in Big Train.

Emely Neu

Emely Neu

There appeared to be a serious interview going on, while three characters in golden robes and painted faces would from time to time make Tourette’s like interjections of nonsense or the sort of noises a bored toddler might make waiting for a parent to finish talking to a friend and divert their attention back to them.

Visited Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age at the Barbican Gallery. I liked the title, Constructing Worlds.

Some work was interesting as documentation of place and other work offered an interpretation or an opening to somewhere else.

The Becher’s water tower collection is a favourite piece. Similarities and differences unite us as individuals.

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher

The sheer scale and drama of a Gursky image is always mindblowing. Its like we stand back and go wow, we made this, we have impressed ourselves, and he captures that awe.

Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky

Iwan Baan’s images of Torre David, an abandoned skyscraper in Caracas, home to thousands of squatters until last year,  had added interest because we had seen it on Homeland, also these were the only images in the show with no white borders.

Iwan Baan

Iwan Baan

While at the Barbican had a look at Walead Beshty’s impressively scaled visual diary in the Curve.

Walead Beshty

Walead Beshty

Over 12,000 cyanotype prints pasted to the wall. Surprising detail captured in some of the prints while others were simple silouhettes. It looked like a satisfying project to fill so much space through a process.

As part of a series of events surrounding the RA exhibition ‘Anselm Kiefer’, novelists A.S. Byatt and Lawrence Norfolk lead a discussion on the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales in this Podcast: – venture together into Germany’s dark woods.

The forest as dark, dangerous and profane, on the edges of civilization. It once surrounded the city, now it is removed. The dark inner space is inviting yet fearful. In history it is the separation between earth and sky. In Vico’s myth it is the heavy branches of the forest that hide the sky – the home of the gods, from the wild men of the forest. The deep recesses of the forest hide danger and wild beasts in their mazes. The laws are those of survival.

Grimm Tales staged at the Oxo Wharf were given the Philip Pullman treatment.

Grimm Tales

Grimm Tales

Led from one set to another in the theatrically dressed wharf building a series of Fairy Tales were acted out.

Grimm Tales

Grimm Tales

The setting was magical enough and the actors enthusiastic

Grimm Tales

Grimm Tales

but the pace was a bit too slow and disjointed to really carry the audience through

Grimm Tales

Grimm Tales

I heard Philip Pullman on the radio the other day talking about His Dark Materials. There seems a lot of ideas explored in his novels that I would find interesting in connection with my work at the moment.

The Golden Compass that God used to set a circular boundary around all creation mentioned in Milton’s Paradise Lost:

Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepared
In God’s eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things:
One foot he centred, and the other turned
Round through the vast profundity obscure

I have been on another paradise location exploration. This was to Paradise Road in Richmond.

1501 road sign

I was delighted to find The Church of Christ Scientist at one end

1501 Church of Christ Scientist

and St Mary Magdalene Church of England at the other

1501 St Mary Magdelene's

– alternative routes to paradise?

A bit of print history in the road as well.

1501 Paradise Road Richmond

The Hogarth Press was started in 1917 by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, named after their house on Paradise Road. They began by hand-printing books of their own books and then stories from others in the Bloomsbury Group.I had a chance to make some simple books in a workshop at school.

simple bookbinding workshop at RCA

simple bookbinding workshop at RCA

When the intensity of the MA is over come July then I might have a go at this.

Thinking about portals to other dimensions I decided to try submerging an image in water. At first I wanted the fabric to stay on the bottom of the bowl but it refused to do so – so I left it floating, wondering if it would eventually sink, after a while bubbles appeared on the surface trapped by the fabric – I have found this evidence of unseen activity intriguing – like the activity in the matter of the universe going on around us unseen –  some unseen activity we can understand,  other intangible things like the aura of place and the dream of paradise cannot be pinned down or explained in terms of materiality.

1501 pool