#Empty trend comes to the ESRF


Seven photographers go behind-the-scenes at the ESRF to stage the world's first “Empty” event in a scientific institute.

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As part of the French science festival, ‘Fête de la Science’, the ESRF organised its first ’empty’ event called #EmptyESRF. Seven photographers who are active on the social network instagram, also known as instagramers, had the rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at one of the world’s leading synchrotrons. During a whole afternoon they visited and photographed this scientific institute, which is not open to the public. They discovered the beamlines or experimental stations, as well as the storage ring tunnel, which is 844 metres in circumference, and met the scientists who use the ESRF's very intense X-rays to explore matter on the atomic scale. Then, they shared their pictures offering an original and artistic sneak peek inside the ESRF.

This rare initiative belongs to the « empty » movement. Born in 2013 in the US, the #empty movement provides Instagrammers with after-hours access to cultural institutions, when they are empty. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the Musée du Louvre in Paris have all hosted #empty events. This is probably the first one that has taken place at an international research institute.

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The ESRF welcomed Elyx, the digital hero created by the artist Yacine AIT KACI alias @ElyxYak

This event is also part of the digital strategy developed by the ESRF. Instragram is a social media whose popularity has strongly increased in the last few years: In 2016, 42% of social media users worldwide used Instagram, compared to just 24% in 2014, according to a recent study in Connected Life. Instagram is breeding a thriving creative community of people documenting their world experience in photos.

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Behind the scenes.

This event brings together science and digital art. For the ESRF, it is a great opportunity to share science with a wide audience and especially with the younger generations.

A sample of the Instagramers’ pictures is shown below. 


The Instagramers who participated in the empty at the ESRF: the digital artist Yacine Ait Kaci alias @ElyxYak, @igersgrenoble with @dl_38, @stephv38, @adelinev38, @iaconegro38, as well as @kiks_way and @fuzzyraptor @echoscigre