Marcela Uribe Fores, Thibaut Evrard, Taeyoung Choi, Louis Schreyer

Quantum mechanics as well as computing are mind-reveling subjects both in Art and Science.  We have been fascinated by the paradoxes and complexities that come out of any quantum experiment, and how they are all inter-related in an infinite spiral of questions about reality and substance of matter as we know it.  This collaborative project is an outstanding opportunity to get as close as possible to this abstract sub-atomic territory though direct interaction with Bristol physicists, working with real experiments and quantum data to create new relations and experimental interpretations.

Our visit to the V&A gave us a new insight on how scientists and artists used the early computers to generate new ways of making and perceiving art.  The origin of Computer Art is directly related to the representation of data as a “translation” from coding language to visual patterns.  Working with Quantum Computing is also about translation; communicating rather complex scientific and philosophical ideas through critical design and the use of quantum data.  In this case not only to visualize information, but also to question and provoke some main concepts involved in Quantum Theory.  As artists, one of the interesting aspects of working with data generated by quantum chips is that this information answers to parameters that are beyond logic and understanding, bringing new variables as quantum randomness, chaos and the unknown into the project itself. Learning the theory behind quantum computing technologies is crucial for us, as it enables us to understand the scope and potential that this technology may have in the future, together with the rising creative implications that we are starting to explore.

In this sense, working with quantum computing is completely on the edge of the contemporary mixtures of art and technology, opening new paradigms for collaboration.  As we learned from the curators from the Computing Art department of the V&A, many of the avant-garde computing art projects from the 70’s were immersed in disputes about authorship between technical work and creativity.  The Systems Research Group’s projects trigger a new creative process, in which both ends are experimenting and speculating in a similar fashion, as artists and scientist are collaborating, allowing us to push forward quantum assumptions as well as our own creative communication and artistic ideas and capabilities equally.

In our research, we are establishing connections from the Copenhagen Interpretation and Quantum Contextuallity, questioning how reality is shaped while measured and the inevitable interrelation between entangled particles.  These theories proved by microscopic scale experiments, trigger many other questions and analogies related to perception, consciousness and reality configuration. Furthermore, we have established some conceptual connections with philosopher Karen Barad’s theories, expanding the scope of our research to question some essential aspects of human experience: “Individuals only exist within phenomena (particular materialized/materializing relations) in their ongoing iteratively intra-active reconfiguring”.

wavepartcile function

Early experiment representing the concept investigating wave-particle duality.

contextuality sphere

Early experiment representing quantum contextuality.

We are grounding our research on theoretical facts, concrete quantum computing experiments and data, that we will scale and distort in order to experiment with the quantum possibilities that only exist on a theoretical level today.  We are looking forward to attempt at opening possibilities through representations and embodied experiences that can expand some of the already existing quantum problems.  This is extremely challenging for both the scientists and the artists, as we are experimenting with speculations that are beyond our concrete knowledge on both sides.  As IED students, this is a very exciting opportunity to propose new ways of communication through experiences from a critical research, as well as getting emerged in the subject itself.

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Photos: Graham Marshall and Libby Heaney