(Prosthetic devices, VR video game and workshops)

Co-created by Santiago Arcila

Special thanks to: Asher Remy-Toledo, Hyphen Hub


What is the role of dark matter, an invisible form which accounts for approximately 70% of all matter in the universe? In the 1970’s, astronomer Vera Rubin discovered that the objects at the edges of galaxies moved faster than expected, and predicted the existence of unseen dark matter to explain the discrepancy. 

Supralunar invites us to experience discoveries made by Rubin on the relationship between dark matter and the rotational movement of galaxies. It proposes a poetic approach to dark matter, visualising this strange and unknown entity that scientists believe supports entire galaxies, stopping them from being torn apart by the extreme speed at which they rotate - but which we cannot see or detect yet.






Placing an eye against the lens causes the skull’s orbital and temporal bones to act as an amplifier for the sound produced by the electromechanical gears inside, while the frequency of the lights inside creates a simulation of the morphogenesis of a galaxy through light and sound. Paradoxically, Supralunar’s construction –reminiscent of an ancient clock– allows us to comprehend through everyday, classical mechanics a phenomenon that is based on the abstract theories and unseen constituents of modern physical cosmology.

An interview with FACT Liverpool about Supralunar.


I like to think of the work as a gear clock, mainly because I am interested in the way in which a mechanism that existed centuries ago can serve as a metaphor for a complex intangible phenomenon - the action of dark matter on celestial bodies - that is very hard to understand. I also think from a machinic aspect, because I am very interested in the way we refer to machines to build our idea of reality. Just as we use machines like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to try and understand our cosmogony, clocks are also needed to be able to measure and represent time; I consider it important to rethink human-machine relations, in order to be able to blur and re-understand the relationships that make up our world.


In formal terms, the work consists of a series of electromechanical gears in motion, where dark matter is staged through light and sound. Supralunar invites the spectator to immerse themselves in the discoveries made by Vera Rubin - the astronomer who discovered that the objects on the edges of galaxies move faster than expected - on the relationship between dark matter and the rotational movement of galaxies. In this sense, the work proposes a plastic and poetic approach to dark matter, starting from the morphogenesis and shape acquisition of a galaxy: the movements and series of collisions between luminous bodies dispersed in space which lead them to eventually become a galaxy. Dark matter plays a role in how hierarchically the structures of the universe are formed, from scattered parts to the conformation of galaxies.




















A conversation with scientists from CERN on the opening of Broken Symmetries.

© 2018 by JUAN CORTES. All rights reserved

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