Introduction & OutcomeFindings and observations in quantum physics are challenging common perceptions about the material world and often lie in contrast to classical, Newtonian physics. They can seem counterintuitive to our understanding of reality and refuse commonly accepted ideas around materiality, causality and determinacy. These insights invite philosophical, social and ethical reflections on how we understand ourselves and our connection with the world and the universe.
Research in quantum physics has shown how particles come ‘to matter’ through an act of observation that forces the particle to be ‘conjured’ into existence. The act of measurement, therefore, is of great significance in the continuous materialisation of the world. Before this measurement, particles find themselves in a state of superposition, where they are neither here, nor there, nor here and there, but only exist as a wave of probability.
This project is heavily influenced by Karen Barad and her onto-epistemological ethics of ‘Agential Realism’ and her book ‘Meeting The Universe Halfway’. Barad’s term ‘Space-Time-Mattering’ described her understanding of quantum physics. Neither space, nor time, nor matter can be understood as independent agencies. It is only through their intra-action that all three are realised.
I collected found objects from various locations across London and developed images of these locations on the items. Through the use of analogue film and photo developing techniques, I wanted to show how established ideas of cause and effect, physical boundaries and subject-object dichotomies are being questioned by observations in quantum physics. Our environments are realised through a network of on-going intra-actions between multiple human and non-human bodies. Apparatuses, things and words constitute each other and find themselves in a state of entanglement.
These multiple exposure prints are a metaphor for temporal diffraction and how all possible histories are happening together, co-existing, contributing to the overall pattern of diffraction.
I took images of various neighbourhoods across east London and collected found objects from these locations. To keep an element of unpredictability and uncertainty, I decided to shoot all photos on an old film camera and to set up a DIY darkroom at home with the intention to develop all films and photos myself. This allowed me to experiment with different development techniques and to evetually find a method to ‘print’ images on the found objects.
As part of my experimentation, I also tried to print ‘directly from screen’, by displaying a negative on my laptop screen and exposing photo paper against the display for a few seconds. The results weren’t convincing, but I might try and experiment with this technique a little more in the future:
This experiment had been created by projecting a regular negative on the paper with the enlarger and by additionally resting a negative printed on acetate on the paper, effectively resulting in a double exposure:
Another unsuccessful trial of photo development printing on some left-over concrete from a previous project:
Research and Theory
You’ll find the main pillars of the theory and research that has informed this project below. I’d love to hear your suggestions for further reading / watching/ listening. Please get in touch and share anything that you think might be relevant to extend this project further. Thank you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Barad - Meeting The Universe Halfway - Duke University Press, 2007
Stephen Hawking - Brief Answers To The Big Questions - John Murray, 2018
Johnny Golding, Daniel Rubinstein, Andy Fisher - On the Verge of Photography: Imaging Beyond Representation - ARTICLE Press, 2014
J.P. Jones, Helga Leitner, Sallie A. Marston, Eric Sheppard - Neil Smith's Scale - 2017
Gregory Hollin, Isla Forsyth, Eva Giraud, Tracey Potts - (Dis)entangling Barad: Materialisms and ethics - White Rose, 2017
Jinkyung Kim - How Do Art And Quantum Nanoscience Connect? - 2019 - https://qns.science/the-world-of-quantum/
Jeremy Levine - The Uncertain Human Quantum Mechanics - Digimag, 2009 - http://digicult.it/digimag/issue-048/the-uncertain-human-quantum-mechanics/
Rick Dolphijn, Iris van der Tuin - New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies - Open Humanities Press, 2012 - https://quod.lib.umich.edu/o/ohp/11515701.0001.001/1:4.3/--new-materialism-interviews-cartographies?rgn=div2;view=fulltext