Drift: Art and Dark Matter – Art Inspired by the Ultra-Clean Laboratory Spaces #ArtTuesday
Drift: Art and Dark Matter is an exhibition of art inspired by the ultra-clean passageways that lead to the remote, highly controlled labs that are searching for dark matter. Here’s more from Art the Science:
Sunny Kerr (curator): At first, I was inspired by “the drift.” My colleagues at McDonald Institute described it as the long dark hot passageway from the cage (mine elevator) into SNOLAB’s ultra-clean laboratory spaces and “drift” is a common mining industry term for such tunnels. “Drift” is a title that grounds us in a stable material space, and the word also offers a poetics of waywardness that was appealing, because “drift” also refers to unpredictability, involuntariness, wandering or indeterminacy and even delirium. I believe there are two kinds of curiosity: major and minor. The major kind belongs to the nobler pursuits of capital “S” Science and capital “A” Art. Minor curiosity is always at work inside science and art, stealthily migrating into unfettered solidarities. The urgency of our historical moment makes me interested in how artists and art institutions can stray outside of their safe zones in ways that might allow us to recognize latent commonalities and to stay with our entanglement within planetary beings. So, I was inspired to refer to the “the drift” for its tracing of the action of connecting: it connects the lab to its geographical, historical, cultural contexts and so it might also connect dark matter physics with the world of art. In this way, the title can also be a metaphor for what happens to distinct but compatible disciplines when they connect (for one, we see how each is less distinct than we thought, already having influenced each other). Have you ever listened to the way McCoy Tyner plays the piano with John Coltrane? To my inexpert ears, it seems to be an especially open modality. It accompanies us in a different sense than we normally expect. It does not close down multiplicity; nor does it alienate. It is a companion that doesn’t “comp,” but instead opens new directions repeatedly. This is how I imagine art moving together with science.
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