Standing in a pitch-black room, visitors lean in to examine a glowing glass box. A thousand tiny, glittering particles danced before their eyes, swirling through the air, twinkling quietly. Immediately, we’re taken over by the desire to fall right through the prism and into the mesmerising world of Japanese artist Eiji Sumi’s new installation, Quark.
To some the name sounds like a large, exotic bird, or completely made-up. But no, quarks are fundamental particles that build up matter, and Eiji Sumi’s Quark is an enchanting site-specific installation that allows the viewer to experience the beauty of these particles in an intriguing union of light, science and art.
Sumi began forming the idea for Quark nearly two years ago. Inspired by the way dust looks when caught in light, he started to investigate the phenomenon of particles, and in particular, quarks. Typically used in motion graphics, isolated quarks are the smallest known units of matter and so are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye. Sumi took this as a challenge, and set about finding a way to represent the particles in an installation. He says: “I wanted to create a work where these particles could be seen in reality, and I had to design a system to make this happen.”
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