Missing Mass

Carey Young

Is it possible to own dark matter? Missing Mass presents a simple cube of 18 inches square. Inside we are told are 5,461 particles of dark matter, based on the best estimates of modern physics. By including a legal disclaimer as part of the work, Young suggests that dark matter particles are the only truly free entities in existence, since they can pass through any material on the planet. This piece requires the audience to play a critical part - do they agree with the disclaimer or not? If they were to purchase this artwork what exactly would they own? And either way, is there a want or need to own dark matter - something that we as yet do not fully understand?

Image credit: Missing Mass (detail on right) © Carey Young. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Thierry Bal

About the contributor(s) 

Carey Young
Carey Young is a visual artist who has developed her practice from a range of disciplines including economics, law, politics, science and communication. These different fields serve as material for her installations, text works and photographs, as well as for videos in which absurd relationships develop between the performer and political, commercial or legal discourse. She has often immersed herself in the business or legal worlds, donning the appropriate attire and enacting recommended scenarios in order to examine and question the reach of each institution's power and its ability to shape our contemporary reality. She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Malcolm Fairbairn
Malcolm is Professor of Physics in the Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at King's College London. His research lies at the boundary between cosmology, particle physics and astrophysics. In particular, his interests lie in dark matter, dark energy, cosmological inflation and particle astrophysics. He is an advisor to the DARK MATTER season at Science Gallery London