Darragh O'Brien Masthead

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Dark Matter

3 x trans-disciplinary, collaborative works that combine physical and the virtual qualities to provoke and record visitor curiosity.

type Exhibition Research Experiment
Status Exhibited at Monash Art & Design gallery in November 2006
Awards The Victorian Premier’s Design Award 2008, the national Interior Design Excellence Award (IDEA) 2007.

“We are always in some space. But we are not always in all spaces. It is important to distinguish between those spaces we occupy at a given moment and those we do not at the same moment(Phillip Thiel, 1996)

Dark Matter was the title of an experiment carried out at Monash University, during the State of Design Festival in 2006. Using the Art & Design Faculty Gallery as a site of continuing exploration, a cross-disciplinary team of designers, artists, an architect and an historian considered fundamental questions about the nature of inaccessible, but seductive, space. Three experimental installations were used to provoke curiosity and record visitor response, not as passive subjects in a simulated environment, but as active participants in a blended reality; surfaces became intangible; matter and information became interchangeable and the architecture existed in the experience of the event.

As in astrophysics, Dark Matter is the absence that is partially exposed through the making of work and through the structure of the exhibition. Each installation was developed around a unique, geographically specific event that evolved through a collaborative studio-based negotiation. In an increasingly supple, post-digital world obsessed with information and the over exposure of every detail, the experiments attempt to unite the physical and the virtual - what De Kerckhove refers to as the “invisible truth of bodies” (De Kerckhove, 2003) through an iterative process of hypothesis and implementation within the studio and the gallery. Art and science are reconciled.