Alistair McClymont and Rita Tojeiro:
Voronoi Halo, 2023

SPACE Lab [co-creative art astronomy experiments],
APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, London SE8 4SA. 16th Feb - 5th March 2023.
Co-curated by Ulrike Kuchner and Nicola Rae.

Funded by the Science & Technology Facilities Council and Lewisham Creative Change.


Alistair McClymont’s installations endeavour to visualise the invisible, to reveal something hidden or impossible to see. Dark matter is possibly the most elusive and yet prevalent mass within our universe. It is something we know affects everything through gravity and yet seems to interact in no other way, making it difficult to detect. For SPACE Lab, McClymont collaborated with Rita Tojeiro whose astrophysics research focuses on large spectroscopic galaxy redshift surveys to understand the content, geometry, and expansion of the Universe. Through conversations, data, and telescope hardware shared by Tojeiro, McClymont created physical forms and a series of corresponding cyanotypes that offer an analogy of dark matter’s presence, to understand and express how dark matter might exist in the spaces around us.



On the largest scales, dark matter dominates the Universe. To understand dark matter — and ultimately the nature of the Universe — we need to understand how it affects the Universe around it. However so far, the only known effect is its gravitational pull. This paucity of information makes it hard to pin down what exactly dark matter is. Scientific explorations expand the space of possibilities and investigate dark matter as a particle and as a field, and allow for the possibility that we may not fully understand how gravity works.

McClymont’s Voronoi Halo explores dark matter through artistic practice, forms and analysis mirroring data and processes shared and discussed between Tojeiro and McClymont. The title references mathematical Voronoi cells — prevalent on all scales in nature from muscle fibers to cosmic web filaments — and the working model that each galaxy, including our own Milky Way, is embedded in a halo of dark matter. McClymont used positional data from the pioneering Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) whose galaxy observations have become a central pillar for tests of the cosmological model that describes our understanding of the history and future of the Universe



A series of inflated paper and resin forms spread out on the gallery floor according to his measured patterns of dark matter in a particular patch in the sky. Each Voronoi sculpture relates to an area of space occupied by one galaxy. Together, they trace dark and luminous matter that arrange into a deeply connected web that is the foundation to our existence. Every Voronoi shape formed the seed of a cyanotype print. During the cyanotype photogram process — aptly invented by the astronomer John Herschel — the prepared paper was exposed to UV light with the form resting on top. Together, the sixteen forms and sixteen cyanotypes artistically make visible that which is not.


More about Alistair McClymont

More about Rita Tojeiro


All photographs by Alistair McClymont