Space within Spaces is the culmination of a yearlong residency at Pratt Institute.  It is a collaboration with theoretical nuclear physicist Professor Ágnes Mócsy, designer/architect/artist Che-Wei Wang, and creative technologist Owen Trueblood.  When making this piece I was thinking about relationships of viewer and artwork, immensity and the infinitesimal, intimate and open.  The muon and this space embody those relationships.  The muon moves with such high energy that, at its scale it passes through this building, the atoms between our bodies, and hundreds of meters into the earth before succumbing to entropy.  While they are small, they are created by collisions of cosmic rays, the closest of which originate a mere 3,000 light years away.  Using a homemade muon particle detector, Arduino, and a computer I can map a small section of particles on their way to decay, to the larger hanging grid of lights.  Whenever a muon particle is detected on the sensor, its location is mapped to the light grid, creating a ripple that spreads across the lights in real-time.

As a piece of contemporary art, the work engages concepts of space and place. It invites the viewer to consider some of the smallest interior spaces, the emptiness between atoms in our bodies as passing particles move through it, nearly all without touching a single bit of matter, and the huge scale of time and distance of their origin - exploding stars. The work’s physical objects and installation occupy space, but its sense of place is both negative and positive, referencing magnitudes of voids and expanses.

200 Willoughby Ave, brooklyn, NY 11205

Space within Spaces is generously supported by Pratt Institute, through the Department of Mathematics and Science’s STEAMplant Residency, and the Sirovich Family.



Simulation of muon particle hitting the light grid.


Contact Joseph Morris for more information or to support and present his work.