Inner and Outer Cosmos

Inner and Outer Cosmos

science as art, art as science
a joint project between
Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics at Stockholm University
Edsvik Konsthall
Exhibition 23 March – 14 April – at Edsvik Konsthall


Cosmology is a science based on modern physics and astronomy, that in the last century has moved from theoretical and speculative to observationally well-established. Cosmology is the science of the Universe: how it began, what it’s made of, what its fate is, what its laws are, what its shape is. The quest to understand the Universe is not only interesting for scientific researchers, it is also closely linked to the everyday issues that all people think about. In recent decades, astronomical observations have confirmed many of the theoretical models, and science can explain and describe many aspects of the universe, but there are also areas where knowledge is very limited. Here, science is faced with major theoretical and experimental challenges. It’s a creative challenge because clear frames of reference are missing.

Therefore we want to explore the creative space that lies at the intersection of inner and outer cosmos: how do they relate to each other? Can we get new perspectives and ideas in both directions? To address this, we have initiated a collaborative art-science project.

Scientific method

In this video Rahman and Fabio explain what is the scientific method. How do scientists know what is science and what is not? Check out the video and read some explanations here.

If you want to know more you can read this page: the scientific method

Presentation about art and science – by Rahman Amanullah

This (very bad quality) video shows Rahmans presentation during the meeting at Albanova between the artists and the scientists. Just a reminder of what all of this is about.
(unfortunately I run out of battery, and use the photocamera to film the second half, that is why it is so bad! Sorry about that -Serena)

Ladda ner Rahman presentation during the meeting at Albanova

Please read on below for the project plan, what to do next, information about subjects, and contacts.


A dialogue The key aim of this project is to build a dialogue process where scientists and artists together explore an area of interest. This dialogue will provide the inspiration for the artists to develop their art work. It is expected that both scientists and artists are open to each other’s frames of reference and interpretation and actively attempt to arrive at understanding and a unique synthesis that neiter scientist or artist could have produced on their own.

An exhibition The works will be exhibited at Edsvik Konsthall Art Gallery, in Sollentuna, Sweden, in March- April 2013.

A workshop series In connection with the exhibition, a series of workshops and seminars exploring the intersection of art, science and creativity will be organized.

A documentary record Parts of the project (e.g. meetings and discussions) is being documented on video. An exhibition catalogue will also be produced. We also hope to publish a summary of the workshops and seminars attached to the exhibition.


The project involves about 30 artists and 15 researchers that will work together. Since the objective of this project is to establish a dialogue between science and art, to explore the universe from different perspectives, the idea is that scientists and artists together discuss a topic, concept, problem in the modern cosmological world view that they find interesting. A number of meetings will be held this year in the Stockholm area. For those artists who can not attend the meetings, we will produce a collection of videos (see below in “Resources”) in which scientists talk about intriguing questions. There is also the opportunity to discuss and ask questions via e-mail, telephone, Skype and similar. Since many scientists do not speak Swedish, a large part of the collaboration be in English. The intended roles is that researchers are responsible for the scientific knowledge base, which scientist and artist together in dialogue put into a subjective context. The artist is responsible for the artistic interpretation of what the dialogue process leads to. In this way we want to explore the creative process that researchers face – to be creative within sometimes ambiguous boundaries set by nature – from the artist’s perspective. It is hoped that both scientists and artists will get new impressions which can also be communicated to others.

Topics – Concept

One of the main objectives of the project is new interpretations and representations of cosmological research, which can give impetus to new ideas. Therefore it is important that both artists and scientists are open to go beyond their previous conceptions of the cosmos. We want to reach beyond “the great, unimaginable” to find the subjective representations of meaning that is rooted in current scientific knowledge. The artists work with their interpretations based in the same physical limitations that researchers have to take into account in their work. This framework is intended to be the crucible for the creative process.

In practical terms, information on selected topics are provided via the Internet, through video and text (see below under “Resources”). The artist chooses which ideas that seem interesting to work with, and then get in touch with the scientists who are also interested in these questions via the contact information we provide (below). It’s fine to work with several artists/scientists, with the understanding that researchers may need to limit their commitments due to time constraints (there are more artists than scientists in the project). Of course you are welcome to contact the organizers for guidance in topic selection and contacts – see below for contact info. The artists work together with the researchers in a dialogue that is intended to lead to artwork and interpretations that neither artist nor researchers have been able to accomplish on their own – “the third way”. The dialogue can take place through meetings, e-mail, telephone, video-conference/Skype, or the like – scientists and artists are responsible for this process. A few meetings for the project participants will be organized during the autumn-winter in the Stockholm area, for those who are able to participate.

Some examples of possible topics:  What is dark energy? What is dark matter? Why are there laws? What is the shape of the universe? We come from quantum fluctuations – what does that mean? Are there other universes? Is our universe “special”? Quantifying “the unknown” What is the fate of the universe? What is the meaning of time? The universe is 13.7 billion years old, 93 billion light years “wide”, …

Important dates

September Meeting in Stockholm for artists and scientists (19 September 16.00-18.00 at AlbaNova, sign up here!!)

December Meeting in Stockholm (DATE TBD)

February 2013 Deadline for catalogue

23 March – 14 April Exhibition & Workshops – at Edsvik Konsthall

What to do next?


  • Read through the concept description (under “Resources” below)
  • Read through the introductory material on this web site
  • Watch the introductory videos on this web site (under “Resources” below)
  • Read up on further reference material if you wish
  • Identify a few topics that interest you
  • Find one or several scientists in the list on those topics
  • Make contact with the scientists and initiate a dialogue


  • Read through the concept description (under “Resources” below)
  • Read through the introductory material on this web site
  • Identify artists and techniques that might interest you
  • Make contact with artistst you find interesting with an idea on a topic
  • Respond to contacts from artists seeking collaboration



Reference material

Concept in Swedish: Koncept (Swedish version of the information on this website – Svensk version av denna webbsida)

An Introduction to the Scientific Method for Artists (to be added later)


Science Introduction – Videos

These videos introduce different scientific topics and questions, featuring some of the researchers taking part in the project. Each video is around 5 min or less. Please look through them to find some inspiration for further contacts, reading and thinking! Start by reading the background text below, which outlines the basic picture of the cosmos that that videos elaborate on.

Background: Brief description of the modern scientific world view

Over the last hundred years, our world view has changed considerably thanks to the new discoveries made in the scientific exploration of the Universe. The picture we have gained is that an initial, very small, compact and hot universe rapidly expands in size. Microscopic quantum fluctuations, which is all that exists in the initial state, become greatly enlarged through fast expansion and turned into “seeds” from which galaxies and other structures in the Universe very slowly form. The expansion also leads to a gradual drop in the temperature of the Universe, with the result that different particles such as neutrons, hydrogen and helium atoms, gradually form when their constituents “freeze together” a few minutes after the beginning. A few hundred thousand years after the beginning, the temperature has dropped enough for matter to “let go” of the light (photons) present in the early Universe. This light then travels freely and reaches us as the cosmic microwave background radiation. Matter clumps attract each other more and more by gravity, and the seeds of stars and galaxies thereby grow more and more. A few hundred million years after the beginning the first stars light up, and not much later the first galaxies are formed, with stars and planetary systems. The formation of stars and galaxies continue until today, some 14 billion years after the beginning. After some time, stars explode at the end of their life, and in the process creates the heavier elements, such as iron, which spreads in the explosion and becomes building material for new stars and galaxies. About four billion years ago, about when our solar system was formed, the Universe started to expand faster and faster – the expansion is accelerating. If the universe consisted only of matter and light, the Universe would expand much more slowly or contract today – so something must be causing the accelerating expansion. This something we call “dark energy”. It is not known what it might be, though there are many ideas. At the same time, much more matter must exist in the Universe than we can see through the telescope, to make the balance sheet add up. Such matter we usually call “dark matter”, because it does not seem to send out or absorb light. These are two of the mysteries that current research focuses on – alongside many others.

Now learn more about these topics and other mysteries in the videos below!

The expanding universe 1/3

The expanding universe 2/3

The expanding universe 3/3

Dark Matter 1/3

Dark Matter 2/3

Dark Matter 3/3

Galaxies and Gamma Ray Bursts

Further reading


Introductions to big questions in cosmology: Science Magazine


Barrow, John: “The Artful Universe Expanded” / ”Universums födelse”

Blomberg, Claes m. fl.: ”Från Big Bang till livet på jorden”

Danielsson, Ulf: ”Stjärnor och äpplen som faller”, ”Den bästa av världar”

Greene, Brian: “The Elegant Universe” / ”Det stoff varav kosmos väves”

Gustafsson, Bengt: ”Kosmisk resa”

Hawking, Stephen: “A Brief History of Time” / ”Kosmos – en kort historik”

Rees, Martin: “Just Six Numbers” / ”Summa sex storheter”

Singh, Simon: “Big Bang”



Martin Sahlen Martin Sahlén (dark energy, theoretical-observational cosmology, clusters of galaxies)
– scientific leadership

Serena Nobili Serena Nobili –
organisation and communication –

Rahman Amanullah Rahman Amanullah (dark energy, observational cosmology, supernovae) – 
scientific leadership –

Jonas Enander Jonas Enander
(dark energy, relativity theory, theoretical cosmology) –

Chad Finley Chad Finley
(dark matter, neutrinos) –

Lucia Guaita Lucia Guaita
(galaxy evolution and structure, observational cosmology) –

Fabio Iocco Fabio Iocco
(dark matter) –

Joel Johansson Joel Johansson
(dark energy, observational cosmology, supernovae) –

Giorgios Leloudas
(observational cosmology, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts) –

Elena Moretti Elena Moretti
(gamma ray bursts, dark matter) –

Tanja Petrushevska Tanja Petrushevska
(observational cosmology, supernovae) –

Bo Sundborg Bo Sundborg
(string theory, relativity theory, dark energy, theoretical cosmology) –


Artists (list continually expanded)


Fernando Garrido –

Anne-Lie Larsson-Ljung – –

Sonja Lindell – –

Bo Ljung – –

Maria Luisa Hernandez (TBC) – –

Nelson Salazar Luna – –

Ingvar Staffans – –

Dalibor Trencevski – –

Åsa Wrange –



Anna Kristina Malmgren –

Antonio Briceno (TBC) –

Christer Fuglesang (TBC) –

Gabriele Garavini – –

Lennart Kaltea – –


Digital Painting

Margareta Ternström – –



Ingela Hageman – –

Julia Boix-Vives – –



Stefano Beccari – –

Jan-Erik Brask – –

Jill Höjeberg – –

Anna Löwdin – –

Sergio Perea Jerez – –

Inger Sannes – –

Sam Westerholm – –

Åsa Wrange –


For Edsviks konsthall / art gallery

Ricardo Donoso (gallery manager) – artistic leadership –

Marcela Elofsson –

Kristina Malmgren –

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Cosmology, astrophysics, astroparticle physics