[ISEA2016] Panel Statement: Paul Thomas — Quantum Media Art and its new modalities

Panel Statement

Panel: The Affect of Quantum Phenomena on Media Art

This paper will deal with art, media and science via the concept of the spin as a fundamental property in quantum computer research, where flux and vibration are at the very core. The historical model of media art, science and technology now includes the potential for quantum phenomena.

I will look at the implications of quantum computing for media art and its evolving histories. I will argue that new forms of art are on the horizon that demand specific attention as we enter an age of experimentalism. The spin of the atom in the void, with its internal rhythms and vibrations, is the driving force behind the power of the quantum computer. The various media artists whose practice parallels progress in the area of physics are exploring frequencies and signals that are key properties at the atomic heart of quantum mechanics. The human interface with technologies will become more complex with the rise of the quantum computer and it ability to process multiple sets of data simultaneously. The controlling of atoms at the core of the computer will require a shift in our human relationship with matter, and artists can play a leading role in defining this new relationship through reflection and critique of computer mediated interactions.

The quantum computer uses traditional atomic material compounds such as phosphorous, nitrogen, silicon and graphene electrons as qubits and their properties of the superposition. The paradox of the quantum superposition (best articulated in the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment) exists as an actual and empirical condition in which an electron occupies multiple positions in space simultaneously, but none specifically. There is a shift that needs to occur in our conscious understanding of invisible quantum nature. How will quantum phenomena affect our understanding of materials, meaning and art?

  • Paul Thomas, University of New South Wales, AU

Full text (PDF)  p. 426-428