Laboratory of Dark Matters

Laboratory of Dark Matters is a response by artists to scientific investigations into the unknown nature of the universe.

Laboratory of Dark Matters is a response by artists to scientific investigations into the unknown nature of the universe. Through a programme of exhibitions, workshops, talks and events it invites everyone driven by curiosity to explore fundamental questions about matter and consciousness.

Exhibition Open 26th July – 02 September 2017 at the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum

Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm; Saturday 1pm – 4pm; Closed Sundays


“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”

In Spring 2016, a group of artists visited Boulby Underground Laboratory to meet scientists working on dark matter detection. Hosted by Boulby lab. director Prof. Sean Paling and particle astrophysicist Dr Chamkaur Ghag who work directly with the world’s leading experiments in this field, the artists were transported 1100m below ground to a hidden environment located in the UK’s deepest working mine. In this extraordinary setting beyond the reach of cosmic rays and background radiation the artists gained a glimpse into the dedicated world that the scientists inhabit and found there was common ground they share between them as both seek to understand the mysteries of the universe.

The artists initiated Laboratory of Dark Matters, with the support of the scientists, to explore not only the physics of our existence but also to question our beliefs and mythologies. During a residency in April 2017 at Guest Projects London, sponsored by Yinka Shonibare Studios, the artists aimed to echo the ethos of the laboratory through research, experimental works, discussions and testing boundaries between the arts and science. The resulting new artworks, reflecting unique responses to dark matter research and the broader issues it touches upon, are being installed at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum for Summer 2017.

To complement the exhibition there will be a programme of free workshops and events including making cloud chambers to witness the usually unseen tracks of cosmic particles; creating patterns painting with phosphorescent powders activated by laser light; and an open day with talks and dark matter related activities.

An Institute of Physics sponsored event will take place at Whitby Museum on 4th August where Chair of Dark Matter UK, Dr Ghag will explain current dark matter research, alongside artists talks and performance, a video tour of Boulby Underground Laboratory, and a cross discipline panel discussion with opportunities for the public to ask questions.

Additional information is available at

Laboratory of Dark Matters is grateful to Arts Council England, The Institute of Physics, Cleveland Mining Museum and Boulby Underground Laboratory for supporting our project.