The installation and sculpture “a shot in the dark” is inspired by the CRESST (Cryogenic Rare Event Search with Superconducting Thermometers) experiment, a project located at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. It seeks to detect the possible yet still undetected existence of so-called ‘Dark Matter’ in space. The sculpture reproduces at a 1:1 scale the original detector made of copper, focusing on its mystical body as the physical materialisation of scientific speculation.

copper, acrylic glass, galvanised steel, original CRESST detector, video (colour and sound, 14 min)

Exhibition view at Serralves Museum, Novo Banco Revelação Award 2019, photos by Filipe Braga
Supported by Max-Planck-Institut für Physik (António Bento, Federica Petricca, Lucia Canonica), Technische Universität München (Elizabeth Mondragón), João Pedro Costa, André Alexandre, Shirin Zeraaty, Piris Serrano and Valter Maior

A performance activates the piece “a shot in the dark”, during which two scientists and I dismantle the detector, re-enacting the gestures and protocols involved in the manipulation of such a machine. In doing so we aim to reflect on degrees of performativity in scientific research – we apprehend these gestures as ritualistic acts and address the quest for ‘Dark Matter’ in its intertwinement with imagination and faith (performance unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19). The video piece accompanying the project also aims to rethink the gender imbalance and inequality in the domain of physics as well as the social impact of this research.