Thursday, 29 April 2010

Interim Crit

I got a few good ideas back from the interim crit today. Pete mentioned using mirrors to display some of my information which I thought was really interesting. John also told me about an optical illusion using large mirrors in the Mary Poppins broadway show allowing her to appear 'magically' on the stage.

There was also mention of a magic show in the Hayward Gallery. Although my project is not about magic in any way, these magicians are trying to 'prove' the impossible is possible, which is essentially what Quantum Theorists do. The theory is just insane!

I think I'd like to experiment with mirrors, they could produce some really interesting results... It also fits with the idea of looking into another world, as well as you being in two places at once.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


After doing a doodle in my sketchbook supposed to be representing two entangled particles at opposite ends of the page, I have come to the conclusion that I think the two rooms should be at opposite ends of the exhibition, or at least not next to each other. This is to fully demonstrate the idea of Quantum Entanglement, that no matter how far away the particles are from each other they are inextricably linked and always will be, one always affecting the other.

Change of Scene

I've been thinking that maybe I don't want the installation to be a scientist's office. It involves too much accuracy to get the history right which I found when writing the two letters from parallel universes; the history surrounding those letters was completely made up!

I was thinking making it more a time traveller's office, because then I wouldn't need to worry so much about the age of the things inside the room. E.g. I was hoping to use polaroids, but they are in colour which wouldn't work if it was Schrodinger's office as photos were black and white back then. With a time traveller I could have objects from all over time, some looking very old and vintage and others looking more modern and updated. It just means I won't need to pay an excruciating amount of attention to detail to make sure that it's authentic.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Science Installation

I've been looking at art that has been inspired by science and found this video on YouTube.

Blowing Bubbles Art - A Science Installation

It's an art installation based on the concept of time and something the artist calls "Personal Bubble Universes". The installation requires your interaction and participation and users will have a different experience with it depending on where they walk, from where they can see things etc.
I like the idea of the room just being a room with random information scattered around, and perhaps not trying so much to make it look like a room, just have the vital pieces of information on the wall or I also really like the idea of having things hanging from the ceiling.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Bagged myself an absolute bargain today! I was on the hunt for a typewriter, and found one today in a charity shop for an amazing £3! I couldn't believe it! It's quite old and types a little faint, but it just needs a new ribbon and then it's good to go!

I'm going to use it for typing out letters and other bits of information for this project like the ones I posted earlier. Maybe type over pictures or other work... I'll need to experiment a bit...!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Blog find!

The lovely Livvy found me a post on a blog which is really useful to my project. It's so similar to what I want to do it's almost worrying. I think I definitely I want to include some kind of filming into my piece now, I think it will give it an extra edge.
Although this is cool too:

"installation piece i did at edinburgh college of art under the title 'phenomenon'. i was looking at the phenomenon of space and astronomy."


I've been working on a style for the visuals. It's quite vintage with typewritten letters in brown envelopes and neatly typed suitcase labels. If I'm recreating the office of a scientist from the early 20th century, it's got to be authentic!

These are scans of the two letters from parallel universes in either office. They both contain different events but end up at the same conclusion. I'm pretty sure my history is off; I don't think Schrodinger made as significant a discovery as other scientists in the field of Entanglement...hmm...

Below are just some examples of visuals that I've been trying out:

I'm currently on the look out for some nice antique keys. Don't ask why. I don't actually know. I just love them. And want to have them somewhere in the installation piece, no matter how random.

Monday, 19 April 2010

New Ideas!

First day back and we had a little crit just to see where we were all at with our ideas. We each presented to a table and then got feedback on the concept and had a discussion about where the project could go. I explained that I was looking at the idea of something being in two places at once and the idea of parallel universes and time travel. This turned into a really interesting discussion about the final idea being an installation on a much larger scale, for example a whole room. Or even two rooms, that are the same, but only slightly different as if they are parallel universes. Or an installation that films the audience as they move around the room and then plays the recording back to them or on a slight time delay so that they are watching themselves from 5 minutes ago. And/or the film is projected onto the wall of the other room effectively rendering the person in two places at once.

As to what's inside the room, I still like the idea of the Fluxus movement and the idea of found objects. For example, typewritten letters, maybe just a mysterious box in the middle of the floor (Schrodinger's Cat...), a collection of photographs/polaroids that visually demonstrate the theories, diagrams etc... To give it slightly more structure, I was thinking maybe there could be a loose narrative running through. Say, the room is the office/lab of a famous scientist, perhaps Schrodinger. There could be two letters, one in each room, dated and timed the same, and are identical up until halfway where a different event happens in each letter, making the rest of the letter completely different to the other. I think the project is slightly veering off the course of my project proposal...

In other news...

This made me giggle.
Probably wouldn't have understood it if I wasn't such a neek...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Two places at once

I seem to be gravitating towards the idea of something being in two places at once. Through looking at the idea of quantum superposition, quantum entanglement and consequently the idea of parallel worlds and time travel, I've found the concept that something can be in two places at once and even interact with their other self perhaps without even knowing really interesting.

Although this is a really lame example, it's the best one I can think of to explain the point:
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Hermione tells Harry and Ron that she has been using time travel to get to all her classes, and then uses this time travel to take them back to before the griffin killed. The first time round before they travel back in time, they are in Hagrid's hut and are warned to leave by somebody throwing a large seed through the window. When Hermione and Harry go back in time, they get worried as the seeds have not been thrown and their past selves need to leave. It is then that Hermione realises that it was their future selves who threw the seeds in the first place.

This is a really clever video that somebody made and posted on YouTube. They've split screened the first time round Harry, Hermione and Ron go to Hagrid's House on the left, and then on the right hand side is what's happening at the same time when Hermione and Harry go back in time.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Time Travel

Notes from 'Time Travel In Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities Of Travel Through Time'. By J. Richard Gott

Locating an event in the universe requires four coordinates -
Russian physicist, George Gamow:
"If I want to invite you to a party, I must give you four coordinates. I may say the party will be at 43rd Street and 3rd Avenue on the 51st Floor next New Year's Eve. The first 3 coordinates locate its position in space. Then I must tell you the time. The first 2 coordinates tell you where to go on the surface of the Earth, the third tells you how high to go, and the firth tells you when to arrive. Four coordinates - four dimensions." WIDTH, BREADTH, HEIGHT & DURATION

Your world line starts with your birth, snakes through space and forward in time, threading through all events of your life, and ends at your death. A time traveller who visits the past is just someone whose world line somehow loops back in time, where it could even intersect itself. This would allow the time traveller to shake hands with himself. The older man could meet up with his younger self. The younger self would continue his life becoming old and eventually looping back to that same event. (Note: So does this mean that this event will loop forever with the younger self meeting the older self, growing up and looping back, the older self carrying on life and dying, whilst the younger self grows up, loops back, carries on life, dies, the younger self grows up, loops back...?)

The Grandmother Paradox:
What happens if you go back in time and kill yourself, or even your grandmother? If you kill your grandmother, then your mother would never have been born, and you would never have been born; if you were never born you could never go back in time, and so you could not kill your grandmother.
However, if you were never born, your entire world line, from the point of your birth to your adventures as time traveller, should vanish leaving the grandmother alive and well - so your birth would have happened after all.

Some people believe that an infinite number of parallel universes exist, playing out all possible world histories. TIME SCAPE AND THE MANY-WORLDS THEORY

THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF-CONSISTENCY: The time traveller may have tea with his grandmother whilst she is a young girl, but he can't kill her - or he would not be born, and we already know he has. If you witness a previous event, it must play out just as before.

Quantum Quotes

Quotes from scientists from 'Entanglement: The Greatest Mystery In Physics' by Amir D. Aczel

"Entanglement is not one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics"
- Erwin Schrodinger

"So farewell, elements of reality!"
- David Mermin

"Einstein said that is quantum mechanics were correct then the world would be crazy. Einstein was right - The world is crazy."
- Daniel Greenberger

Notes from book:

Wener Heisenberg - a founder of quantum theory

Light is both particle and wave
Some experiments reveal light as particle, others reveal it as a wave. But never both at the same time. But before we observe a ray of light, it is both wave and particle. Particles and photons are both wave and particle and each has its wave function. (QUANTUM PARADOX)

Electrons live in HILBERT SPACE
abstract algebra, probability theory

Quantum mechanics - we can predict outcomes, but can't understand the underlying processes. Einstein said - it (quantum theory) does not constitute a complete description of physical reality. The theory is incomplete - based their argument on the "unreal" phenomenon of entanglement. If quantum mechanics allowed such bizarre effects to exist, then something must be wrong or incomplete. Einstein felt that what happens in one place could not possibly be directly and instantaneously linked with what happens at a distant location.

Entangled entities (particles or photons) are linked together because they were produced by some process that bound them together in a special way. E.g. 2 photons emitted from the same atom as one of its electrons. They remain intertwined forever, once one is changed, the other changes immediately.

Entangled particles transcend space. The 2 or 3 entangled entities are really parts of one system, and that system is unaffected by physical distance between its components. The system acts a single entity.


A <--> B Alice is married to Bob
D <--> C Dave is married to Carol

Alive and Dave go away on separate business trips.
Whilst they are away, Bob and Carol fall in love and become entangled.
Now Alice and Dave are entangled, despite never having met.

Quantum theory is based on probabilities rather than exact prediction.
Uncertainty Principle: It is impossible to know both the momentum of a particle and its location. If one is known with some precision, the other can only be known with uncertainty.

When we measure, we force some quantum system to 'choose' an actual value, thus leaping out of the quantum fuzz into a specific point.
Observing a particle destroys some of its information contents (wave-function collapse).

Where does the boundary lie separating the macro-world we know from everyday life and the micro-world of photons, electrons, atoms, protons and molecules?
Is a person the sum of many elementary particles, each with its own wave function, or a single macro-object with a single wave-function?

Entanglement teaches us that our everyday experience does not equip us with the ability to understand what goes on at the micro-scale which we do not experience directly.

Greenstein and Zajonc (The Quantum Challenge):
A baseball hit against a wall with two windows can not get out of the room by going through both windows at once. This is something that every child knows instinctively. And yet an electron, neutron, or even an atom, when faced with a barrier with two slits, will go through both of them at once.

Notions of causality and the impossibility of being at several locations at the same time are shattered by quantum theory. The idea of superposition - of "being at two places at once" - is related to the phenomenon of entanglement.


I have highlighted the bits that I found most interesting. As I thought, they seem to point more to the philosophy behind the science and their implication in our world. Without the science and the equations and other stuff I don't understand or care to understand, Quantum Theory is a really amazing piece of work. It is now a completely valid theory, despite the fact that it explains HOW some certain things happen, but absolutely no-one can explain WHY. It really does shatter logic, breaking all the rules we thought just 'were', no questions asked.

Imagine the quantum world was our macro world? We could be in two places at once, or several places at once, doing everything at the same time, be irrevocably attached to someone else and acting as a 'single entity'. It would be crazy. Imagine we were neutrons or particles and behaved so, we could walk through two doors at once...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A Slow Start

Finally managed to get myself in gear and start researching for this Final Major Project business. According to my ACTION plan I should be READY for action and well into my research by now... I've already done the core research on quantum theory for my 'How Things Work' project so I guess I'm not without some research already.

I'm halfway through a book Amir D. Aczel called 'Entanglement: The Greatest Mystery In Physics' as part of my research. Some bits are interesting, mainly because I vaguely understand them due to the previous project, but a lot of it is equations and very scientific theory and it is these bits that I skip right over. Not just because I don't really understand them, but because I'm not really interested in the complicated science behind it all; I've realised that it's not the scientific theories themselves that interest me, but the basic concept behind them, hence the direction I decided to take my Final Major Project in: Quantum Theory as a basic concept or philosophy.

I'm not interested in the equations, I'm interested in their application to reality and what shape some theories take on when they are applied to real life, such as Schrodinger's Cat. It's all very well talking about photons and electrons and protons and atoms and other particles that are too small for us to relate to or even see, but I want to explore what happens when we take the principles used in these scientific theories and are just viewed as concepts.

For example looking at Time Travel or Parallel Universes, I would not be interested in how these things may be scientifically possible although I will of course include them as part of my research, I would be interested in the idea of the future or the past interfering with or changing the present, or something or someone being in two places at once. Or the idea that there is a universe for every possible combination of decisions that we make in our lives and that somehow, somewhere we are someone we've always wanted to be, or someone who we're glad we're not.

It is concepts like these that most people will understand on some level and perhaps even relate to, much more so than a jumble of equations and scientific jargon.