One of my dream photo shoots would take place inside the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS), located inside the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, in the Abruzzo region.
My educational background may be in the art field, but I’m absolutely fascinated by the scientific and technological discoveries.
I have a massive respect for researchers and scientists and I often wish younger generations would divert their gaze from the vapid celebrities who rule our world and look at more intelligent and unassuming icons.
There are over 700 scientists working in the lab, coming from different countries and following a variety of physics and astrophysics experiments.
The laboratory includes three experimental halls and a few service tunnels and covers a surface of 180,000 cubic metres.
So, if you ever got the permission of doing a fashion photo shoot inside the labs, you would basically be able to move around a huge and surreal sci-fi set without having to build it from scratch using yards and yards of aluminium foil (hurray!).
While it is possible to visit the labs, getting the permission to do a fashion shoot or maybe a fashion film inside the experimental halls would be obviously rather tricky, especially due to the nature of the work that is being carried out in the bowels of the Gran Sasso mountains.
Yet what I have in mind wouldn't just be a fashion photo shoot, but a fashion reportage including futuristic designs and images inspired by specific experiments accompanied by interviews with scientists talking about their life and work in the lab and their researches about neutrino physics, dark matter and nuclear reactions.
I do love the fact that the best fashion designs often have some connections with the art world and reference a precise painting or sculpture, but it is undeniable that the best and most memorable fashion designs created in the last few years, or maybe decades, have some strong connections with scientific developments and discoveries.
Collection after collection Hussein Chalayan taught us that it is possible to incorporate in a dress Swarovski crystals and moving lasers or create morphing dresses that can automatically transform in shape and style thanks to a purposefully designed computer system.
I have seen images of past and present experiments carried out in the Gran Sasso laboratory and I can assure you that they could definitely stir the creative juices of many fashion designers and textile printers.
There are specific experiments that could inspire both the structure of a design and the motifs that could be printed on it.
Located in the "Hall C" of the labs, this experiment focuses on Solar Neutrino Physics.
I do find absolutely fascinating the images relating to the Borexino prototype with its stainless steel photomultiplier sphere and scintillator contained in a nylon balloon.
While I know that many scientists out there may now consider me as totally crazy, I think it would be really amazing to develop a print from such a futuristic experiment.
I'm sure a design with such prints would probably stir interesting conversations (“Hey, what’s that on your dress’” “Oh, you know, it’s just a view of the Borexino Stainless Steel Sphere…” “What...?”).
Not convinced yet about the fashion potential hiding in the Gran Sasso labs? Well, let’s try a little scientific experiment in fashion.
Check the fifth image in this post about the LNGS's Cobra (Cadmium-Telluride O-neutrino double-Beta Research Apparatus) experiment showing an array of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detectors.
Now, moving from this image and maybe using also as inspiration Thierry Mugler’s “Anatomique Computer” suit (Autumn/Winter 1990-91 collection) in rayon and cotton velveteen with plastic cord trim, come up with your own scientific design.
Which materials will you be using? Natural or technologically advanced fibres? Any embellishment? Will you try to adapt the squarish shapes of the CZT detectors to the body or will you maybe attempt a body-morphing exercise based on the shapes of the detectors?
Enjoy your little exercise in scientific fashion.
N.B. Message for the LNGS scientists and researchers: I can assure you I'm not crazy and, if you grant me permission to do the photo shoot inside the underground laboratory (please, please, oh please...), I solemnly promise you I won't touch/break anything.
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