Lucas Marsh

Fabric - 2012


Improbable Monument “Fabric”

“Fabric” is a transparent Calabi Yau manifold placed above ground in the center of the largest particle accelerator in the world, the Hadron Collider (2km in diameter) which spans the border of France and Switzerland.  The monument allows the viewer to visually comprehend the scientific theories underlying the research being done at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).

When considering monuments, countless examples of monuments hailing gods which had been deemed the creators of man and the surrounding universe seemed most apparent.  Until recently humans could really only praise mythological human constructs for their existence.  Modern achievements in mathematics, science and technology have permitted alternative theories regarding the creation of the universe, life, and humans.

Super-string theory is the current model in connecting Einstein’s general relativity (E=MC^2) which describes the first fundamental force’s (gravity) on large scale objects with Quantum theory which only involves the other three of the four fundamental forces (electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces) on subatomic particles. In order to permit the investigation of quantum particles and all of the forces acting upon them, super-string theory came to be the uniting platform.  “The basic idea is that the fundamental constituents of reality are strings of the Planck length (about 10−33 cm) which vibrate at resonant frequencies. Every string in theory has a unique resonance, or harmonic. Different harmonics determine different fundamental forces” (

In order to do this, a continuous 6 dimensional loop had to be united with the three physical dimensions knowingly along with time in order to create a consistent paths in which quantum particles coming in and out of existance could be traced.  The 6 dimensional object used in this analysis is called a “Calabi Yau Manifold”.  “Calabi-Yau spaces are important in string theory, where one model posits the geometry of the universe to consist of a ten-dimensional space of the form MxV, where M is a four dimensional manifold (space-time) and V is a six dimensional compact Calabi-Yau space” (

Being that much of the research on activity at the quantum level is being done at CERN (European Union of Nuclear Research) using the large hadron collider, what a better place to display this monument but the dead center of the collider tunnel.

“CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works” (

“Fabric” is a glass 12′x12′ three dimensional representation of a Calabi-Yau Manifold.

Digital Rendering - LBM 2012

Digital Rendering - LBM 2012

What it represents, signifies or commemorates:
“Fabric” represents Super String Theory physically and conceptually.  The “Fabric” monument itself is only the visual representation of the planes in which quantum particles exist and move, while its placement on the in the 3 dimensions of Earth represent the connection super string theory makes between quantum theory and the theory of relativity.  Its placement directly onto the earth over time (the 4th “earthly” dimension) will show grass growing upwards or erosion occurring, thus all dimensions involved with string theory will be present in its existence.  In super string theory, the 6 dimensional Calabi-Yau Manifold is dwarfed by the 3 physical dimensions, and therefore its relatively small scale  in accordance to the world it sits upon is somewhat consistent in juxtaposition.

Last “Fabric” represents CERN itself and the research on the nature of the universe and all things throughout the study of the interactions between subatomic particle collisions.

Why it is important:
“Fabric” and its connection of 10 dimensions as a monument brings the viewer away from the notion of a “humanesque” creator and into that which contemporary scientific theories hint upon as the fabric of our creation as well as the platform (CERN) of discovery.

Since two dimensional graphic representations of Calabi-Yau Manifolds are difficult to comprehend, a three dimensional representation of a Calabi-Yau could allow for a viewer to understand what 6 dimensions “looks like” in 3 dimensional space.  In placing this 6 dimensional object in a 3 dimensional space along with the inherent additional dimension of time permits the 10 dimensions of super string theory to be realized, as visually and conceptually possible, to the visiting viewer.

Colabi Yau Manifold - Google Image Search

Colabi Yau Manifold - Google Image Search

Where it is located and why this specific location:

“Fabric” is placed in the direct center of the circular Hadron Collider tunnel at CERN and lies in the grassy field of farmland 100 meters above the underground tunnel.  It should be viewed at this specific location because it is physically and metaphorically at the “center” of particle research.

“Fabric’s location on the globe is at latitude: 46°16’36.09″N, longitude: 6° 3’58.82″E, which is in the farmlands just south of the village Bretigny, Northeast of Geneve Switzerland.

“Fabric” is ancored deep within the soil beneath it but permits the growth of shrubbery at it’s base to ensure the 4th dimension, time, is realized.

Location of Center of the Hadron Collider in Bretigny, Switzerland - LBM 2012

Location of Center of the Hadron Collider in Bretigny, Switzerland - LBM 2012

How the monument works, What it does, size, What its made of:
The monument is constructed of bullet proof glass, polycarbonate thermoplastic and layers of laminated glass, bolted to a rooted steel frame.  It serves only the purpose projecting ideas the viewer can meditate upon as well as honoring the field world of physicists and expansive knowledge brought by scientists of the past.

Bullet Proof Glass Laminate

Bullet Proof Glass Laminate

How people view and/or interact with it:

The transparent glass construction material allows for the viewer to see “Fabric” without it blocking the view of the surrounding scenery.  This contrasts stone monuments of deities or religious symbols which block whatever is behind the monument in the viewer’s line of sight.  This allows the viewer to maintain a sense of harmony between “fabric” and the rest of the physical world in which it lies.

Why it is improbable and how it challenges more conventional monuments
As a monument, “Fabric” conveys human existence through a scientific lens (symbolically and physically due to transparent glass) as opposed to a deity or string of myths.  The monument contrasts modern theory of existence and creation against all Old World notions of how humans and the universe came to be (God?).
As well, “Fabric” unites the 10 dimensions super string theory refers to by use of it’s placement in the world; the Calabi-Yau manifold is only half of the concept.  This deviates from the idea of the monument itself being the focal point and brings attention to the unification of both positive (the manifold) and negative spaces (the rest of the world).


Comprehending superstring theory is difficult enough to understand let alone visualize the dimensions used in its theories.  “Fabric” helps the viewer/visiter visualize and conceptualize the planes of existance in which subatomic particles are being studied at CERN as well as other laboratories.  Allowing the viewer to reference the 6 dimensional structures in which these particles are studied as well as their connection to the 4 dimensions consciously present in their world permits a conceptual understanding of the relevence of super-string theory.  In addition, “Fabric” is a monument that honors science’s constant quest to build on knowledge and understanding and CERN being a platform for breakthrough discoveries.  No longer are people looking up to “God” but into the very fabric of our makeup for answers.


1.)  Propose idea to CERN, European Union, town involved, and owner of land.  May have to purchase plot of land for monument.

2.) Create a feasible model of a Calabi-Yau manifold on a program such as solid works that could represent a visually significant object but not necessarily mathematically accurate object.  A perfect manifold may be close to impossible to create three dimensionally.  Also material limitations will have to be taken into account and changes may have to be made.

3.) Design a base that is sturdy and figuring out how deep and wide it must penetrate the Earth’s crust.

4.) Manufacture: May have to be molded in pieces then pieced together at site for final construction.  Design will also have to reflect manufacturing limitations as well.