In a world without quantum mechanics, we have to imagine a world where our mobile phones are built from vacuum tubes like in the olden days. Luckily we do have modern physics to give us properly mobile phones, and GPS satellites, and the internet.
But the model of our universe that modern physics proposes is mind-boggling. As Richard Feynman said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
The model is also quite incomplete, in that it can’t explain the majority of stuff that we know exists. The missing pieces are named “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy” as if they’re real things, but it could also be that they represent a mistake in the models or errors in the maths.
I find this fascinating, and the end result of a long thread of work is a small series of drawings inspired by the subject.
Image 1: Dark Lines 2. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper, 250mm x 190mm
Image 2: Dark Line. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper , 250mm x 190mm
Image 3: Dark Square. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper , 250mm x 190mm
Image 4: Dark Circle. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper , 250mm x 190mm
Image 5: Dark Lines 3. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper , 250mm x 190mm
Image 6: Dark Triangle. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper , 250mm x 190mm
Image 7: Detail of Image 1
The drawings are made in a process that combines home-grown software, a pen plotter, ink and water.
Revisiting this work
I was dissatisfied with the series of drawings that I’d made, although they represent a long period of development over months. I revisited the source of the work and honed it down further, to be able to explain the work to others, but also to myself.
The context I’m working with is fundamental physics (think Brian Cox) and my reading over the last couple of years about both the very small (sub-atomic scale) and the very large (cosmos scale), which are bound together on the frontline of contemporary science.
I identified three aspects of this context that was pushing to the front of my work:
- the feeling that I have of the sub-atomic work being an energetic and non-deterministic world, one where randomness and ill-defined edges are part of our model of understanding
- that every entity is dependent upon, and has a relationship with, every other entity
- the situation in which the observer becomes a part of the system being observed, changing it along the way
With these ideas in mind, I made a number of developments, two of which point a way forward to work that I’d like to pursue still further:
Image 8: Fundamental 1. Ink and water with metallic silver paint on Somerset 300gsm paper
Image 9: Fundamental 2. Ink and water on Somerset 300gsm paper
The future for this line of inquiry probably lies in the creation of a body of work that explores both large-scale (wall-sized) installations as well as tiny drawings. I hope to return to this strand of work at some point in the near future.