Evolution of the Universe

Drawing of descendancy relationships between galaxies across the universe's evolution. Starting from a galaxy, a line is drawn from its position in the universe to the position of its descendent. Only galaxies with a mass greater then 0.1% of the maximum in the simulatiom frame are considered. All descendacy paths for all galaxies are drawn into the same figure and projected on the x/y plane. Is there any kind of evolution structure we could see when following this descendance relations?

The 3D positions of the galaxy clusters in simulation frame 46 are considered. Each position is joined with a line to the four nearest galaxies in each quadrant and projected on a plane. What kind of structure or figure do galaxy cluster positions subtend? Is there something characteristic about the cluster distribution in the universe? Is there a pattern?

Again a drawing of descendancy relationships between galaxies across the universe's evolution. But now all descendacy paths for all galaxies drawn into the same figure are projected on the x/time plane Is there any kind of evolution structure we could see when following this descendance relations?

All positions of galaxy clusters along one axis (z) in all simulation time frames are considered. The drawing process draws a line between a cluster position and its nearest neighbour in the next and previous frame. The assumption is that the energy and the mass of a cluster would in some way be injected into the future galaxies which are nearest to it. At the beginning there are few galaxies, but the density increases fast to a maximum which is then maintained almost steadily. How does energy and/or mass distribute across the universe during its evolution?

XMM_Newton by Artemi-Maria Gioti

XMM_Newton is a reactive installation/sonification of galaxy cluster data collected by the European Space Agency’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) satellite. Using a player piano as both an interface and sound production mechanism, the installation generates sonifications of galaxy clusters in real-time, choosing among 503 different clusters. The installation responds both to human input (visitors of the exhibition playing the piano) and its audio environment, using a microphone to monitor the activity of other installations of the exhibition and interact with them. The interpretation and sonification of the data reflects on the double meaning of the word “cluster” in cosmology and in music (a chord consisting of adjacent tones, i.e. seconds instead of the thirds of tonal harmony). The galaxy clusters are “translated” into “arpeggiated” piano clusters the pitch range and duration of which is determined by the mass of the galaxy clusters. The luminosity of the galaxy clusters is mapped to the maximum velocity with which the piano keys are hit, while their distance from the earth is used to determine the register of the piano clusters. The sonification is a comment on the act of translation/interpretation and the contextual (e.g. “cluster” in the context of cosmology and music) and conceptual (e.g. instrument-interface distinction) ambiguities inherent in it.

Transpositions [TP]: Case Study 3

dark matter cosmology


Beecroft Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Oxford and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Astronomy and Space Physics at the University of Uppsala

Cosmology is the branch of astronomy that studies the large-scale properties of the universe, including its evolution from the Big Bang until today and into the future. An important hypothesis of current cosmology is the existence of dark energy, an unknown form of energy permeating all space and accelerating the observable expansion of the universe. According to the standard model of cosmology, dark matter, a hypothetical type of matter distinct from ordinary matter, together with dark energy constitute more than 95% of the total mass–energy content of the universe. Our scientific partner in this case study, Dr. Martin Sahlén, works at the intersection of theoretical and observational cosmology, with an emphasis on modelling and constraining dark energy. His work at the Universities of Oxford and Uppsala aims at testing fundamental assumptions of the standard model of cosmology.

In this case study cosmological data from observations (surveys) and simulations has been used. Martin Sahlén is an active member of the XMM Cluster Survey collaboration that produced a galaxy cluster survey using archival X-ray data taken by ESA’s XMM-Newton satellite. The survey aims at the derivation of cosmological parameters and released a catalogue with data of 503 optically confirmed galaxy clusters in 2012. TP commissioned three artists to perform transpositions of this data set. Artemis-Maria Gioti created an installation for player piano for the DA TA rush research event in Vienna, and Marcus Wrangö and Magnus Bunnskog produced audio-visual installations for the final research event in Stockholm.


The second data set used in this case study was extracted from the online database of the Virgo consortium and stems from the Millenium II dark matter simulation. This N-body simulation is used to investigate how the distribution of matter in the Universe has evolved over time and contains 64 time steps. For each time step the positions of galaxy clusters of a certain minimum number of simulation particles have been selected. As such clusters formed in the universe only after a certain time, the data used starts at time step 11, resulting in 53 steps used in our transpositions. <tbc>

XMM_Newton by Artemi-Maria Gioti at DA TA rush, Vienna 2015