When Florence Arts put out an open call for work made in response to the prompt “Fruitful,” I recalled a quote I’d heard that described quantum mechanics as the most fruitful science we’ve had in the last hundred or so years. I forget where I heard it, but it came into my head anyway. My work has been exploring this subject in a couple of ways recently, and after developing ideas over the months I showed some work in the Spring show, including the first piece of interactive work I’ve put out in public.
The aspect of QM that I’d been working with is collapse of superposition when quantum objects interact with measuring devices/macro objects. It sounds complicated but my interpretation recently has been to work with the idea that objects’ positions are not necessarily knowable in the quantum world. What would our lives be like if that held true at our scale?
Making a start
The work began with still life drawings in which I fractured the surface, at first to echo the reflections and refractions I was seeing in the glass objects, and then explicitly to think about quantum superposition.
Image 1: Sketchbook work in Conté pencil
Image 2: Sketchbook work in water and ink
Before moving on, I made some linoprints to look at refraction in glass a little more deeply.
Image 3: 4 colour reduction linoprint on A4 Masa paper
I decided to develop my work in a different direction, but this diversion ended up playing into some of the work I ended up showing at Florence Arts.
The next step was to write an app using openFrameworks, which broke down the accuracy of positions of digital drawings. I started to think of the project under the name “Quantum SVG”.
Video 1: Quantum SVG 2
I was looking at Barnett Newman’s work at the time, and made a colour field generator, another diversion that ended up being incorporated into the final work. Lots of influences!
Video 2: a colour field generator
I joined this together with the Quantum SVG drawing machine.
Video 3: combining Quantum SVG with the colour field generator
Developing Quantum Fruit
As I worked on responding to the “Fruitful” Open Call, I developed all the work so far, making it work on a tiny Raspberry Pi computer, and also making it respond to nearby movement, ready to install in the gallery.
Video 6: Early sketch of one of the Quantum Fruits: Shrödinger’s Apple
Video 7: Demo of Schrödinger’s Fruit, digital work on 7” screen with proximity sensor
Quantum Fruit Drawings on Paper
At this stage, I wanted to expand the work in a number of directions. The idea that I completed in time to show in the Spring exhibition was a set of drawings made with ink on paper using my pen plotter.
Image 4: Heisenberg Pineapple, 80mm x 80mm ink drawing on Fabriano Artistico 300gsm paper
Image 5: Heisenberg Pear, 80mm x 80mm ink drawing on Fabriano Artistico 300gsm paper
Image 6: Heisenberg Apple, 80mm x 80mm ink drawing on Fabriano Artistico 300gsm paper
Image 7: Heisenberg Banana, 80mm x 80mm ink drawing on Fabriano Artistico 300gsm paper
Fruitful exhibition installation
At Florence, we arranged the physical work alongside the interactive work, and (surprisingly!) everything worked just fine for the six week run!
Image 8: Quantum fruit in situ at Florence Arts, Spring 2022
Image 9: Quantum fruit pen plots in situ at Florence Arts, Spring 2022
Video 8: Quantum Fruit interactive work in situ at Florence Arts, Spring 2022
I developed the work further, including some drypoint prints made by the pen-plotter on aluminium plates
Image 10: close-up of plate for ‘Pear’ on template sheet on press bed
Image 11: “Quantum Fruit 2: Pineapple”, dry point print, Caligo Safewash on Somerset Satin paper, image 100mm x 100mm on paper 250mm x 190mm
Image 12: “Quantum Fruit 2”, 4 dry point prints, Caligo Safewash on Somerset Satin paper, each image 100mm x 100mm on paper 250mm x 190mm
Followed by the start of a series of portraits of the key players in physics from the early 20th century, made using graphite on Polydraw.
Image 13: Neils Bohr, pencil on Polydraw, A4, mounted on a window