Quantum art

Quantum art


“All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising”
Joseph Conrad
“Quantum mechanics is magic”
Daniel Greenberger

These two quotes already provide an answer. However, let us expand a bit, based on the Manifesto of the Quantizing Art movement.

It is well known that art addresses contemporary materials and must keep up with technological evolutions and is often heavily influenced by these. For example, digital art and contemporary artists that work directly through programming, perfectly reflect our digital era.

Quantum technologies are now approaching to change dramatically the future of information technology. Quantum computers, taking advantage of some of the odd nature of quantum reality, are going to revolutionize the digital era. The road towards quantum information technology, although not straightforward, cannot be stopped. Inevitably, blockchain will evolve towards quantum crypto. Hence, does not come as a surprise that quantum physics and related technologies will provide new tools and opportunities for creators. However, our view on the relationship between art and quantum physics goes beyond the historical relationship between art and technology.

Quantum mechanics is one of the most successful theories in science. It was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century and allowed us to predict the behaviour of light and matter with incredible precision. Much of today’s chemistry, material science, information technology, and much more rely on quantum theory.

However, quantum theory was not “just” a successful theory. It represented a paradigm shift in the history of science. It disrupted the mechanistic conception of science. Quantum objects have not a definite reality until they are measured. Quantum physics is weird, and always surprising even for experienced quantum physicists. For example, the mere act of noticing can cause the collapse into a definite, though unpredictable and still ephemeral reality. It tells us that, as stated by Niels Bohr, one of the  founding fathers of quantum theory: “Everything we call real is made by things that cannot be defined as real.”

We believe that this paradigmatic change offers the opportunity of a profound innovation of the relationship between art and science, between humanity and technology. Specifically, quantum processes and effects (unlike what happens in classical physics) have amazing analogies with the richness, uniqueness and at the same time multiplicity of our interiority and of our possibilities, with the complexity and indefiniteness of human emotions and interpersonal relationships. Weird quantum features and effects, such as the coexistence of ontological uncertainty and inviolable rules, the suspension between different realities, the deep connection between separate non-interacting entities, the impossibility of cloning a quantum state, and so on so forth, constitute a revelation and a synthesis at the same time of elusive, though deep, human features as consciousness, interiority, uniqueness of individuals, human relationships. Also, the capability of quantum computers to perform many calculations at once reminds the unconscious mind.

Therefore, for us it is reductive to regard quantum physics as just a new technology which creators can explore. As passionate and creative researchers in quantum optics, we are exploring quantum physics as a new artistic language. Our work is an exploration through the magic of quantum physics and its relationship with our unconscious mind. We aim at feeling and providing deep emotional experiences of quantum reality like only art can provide.

We conclude by highlighting the close analogy between quantum physics, according to which reality originates from the interplay between the observer and the observed system and contemporary art. The words of Umberto Eco, an Italian semiotician, novelist, cultural critic, are particularly suited:

“The uncertainty expressed by certain works of contemporary art favours new interpretative possibilities, which, however, are not unlimited … In the realization of different degrees of ambiguity that are its own, the work of art at the same time also increases the dependence on the active intervention of the user, without however ceasing to be a work.”