1805 Gallery is pleased to announce Melissa Walter as the fourth resident artist in 2017. Melissa Walter will be working in the gallery from Saturday, June 3 to Sunday, July 9. While in residence at 1805 Gallery, Walter will construct an installation that addresses the concept of dark energy, a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all space and exerts a negative pressure that causes the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate.
String Installation 2017
Since the big bang, our Universe has been expanding at an accelerating rate. However, based on our knowledge of gravity, we would have expected that expansion to be slowing down and to begin to see signs that it will contract. What is causing this unexpected mass expansion? It is a mysterious force scientists have labeled “Dark Energy” and it makes up about 68% of our Universe.
More is unknown than known about dark energy but there are four possibilities that are being explored—it’s a property of physical space; the cause is a result of temporary particles; it is a new kind of dynamical energy fluid or field; or Einstein’s theory of gravity is simply incorrect. It is in my own exploration of the subject that I sought to breakdown this weighty concept into a simple visual. Each shape connects to these four theories where they each start at a singular point (the big bang) and then expand outward toward the viewer (accelerating expansion). Each shape (or theory representation) begins and ends in unique places, which speaks to the nature of scientific exploration. Depending on the viewer’s orientation, they overlap and blend into new shapes, which touches upon the malleableness of the scientific method resulting in the often surprising discoveries about the mysteries of the beyond.
In the end, if dark energy persists, we will be a lone galaxy sailing through the vastness of space, where our strongest telescopes will no longer be able to detect our nearest neighbors. Perhaps our continued research into dark energy will help us to understand our unavoidable solitary confinement.