Isea 2022 - Possibles



From June 9 to 30

Artwork / Quantum Chaos set

Authors: Paul Thomas in collaboration with Jan Andruszkiewicz


Quantum Chaos Set is a visualisation of the shift in our cultural understanding of what exists in terms of the difference between the classical and the quantum world of uncertainty. The experimental artwork explores the liminal space between classical and quantum utilising quantum chaos data. This space is a conceptual and contextual location of a permeable boundary.


Theme: Quantum, Art, Chaos, Physics

More information:

  • Abstract: What we do understand is that it is fundamental to existence. Thomas’s current research questions quantum and nanotechnologies that are utilised as part of his concepts of capturing reality in the act of happening. New emergent technologies and traditional materials are explored in his work in relationship to how he visually expresses an alternative comprehension of the invisible, inaudible and intangible phenomena studied in physics. 

    An electron is seen as being analogous to the movement of a spinning top. When a spinning top goes out of its spin cycle, it falls into chaos in the same way an electron in a quantum position is governed by its spin. The set draws from the analogy of the axis of a spinning top that creates a cloud of points that disappear and reappear based on the probability data from Professor Andrea Morello’s lab at University of New South Wales, developed by PhD students Serwan Asaad and Vincent Mourik. In Thomas’s digital artwork, a sorting algorithm developed in collaboration with artist Jan Andruszkiewicz in 2019, utilises speculative quantum data to transform a photographic image. In the artwork, data affects the materiality of photographic images of felt fibres, referencing Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s concept of smooth and striated space. The smooth space of felt is not woven, knitted, knotted, intertwined or laced. It is not a striated space where the woven fabric measures the boundary of the body’s movement in space. It has its own integrity; its tensile strength is born of chaos.  The material becomes a second skin between the body and the world. 

    This fibrous character becomes reconfigured by the speculative quantum chaos data using a sorting algorithm to reposition every pixel in the photograph of felt fibres. The program when executed randomly selects one of ten images and Husimi quasi-probability distribution data a text file from 223,966 samples—transforming by rearranging in real-time the digital photographic images’ fibrous character of felt. An accretion of animated motion evolves over time as the fibrous image is sorted from its classical chaos to one born out of quantum chaos. Each sort of the data weaves a series of linear transformations of the felt fibres to reveal new patterns that correspond to a probability of meaning: chaos begetting chaos as an ongoing, entangled real-time process visualising a liminal space between worlds.

  • Biography: Paul Thomas is Honorary Professor at UNSW Art and Design and currently the Director of the Studio for Transdisciplinary Art Research (STAR) as well as the founder and series-chair of the Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference series 2010-2022. As an artist he is a pioneer of transdisciplinary art practice. His practice led research takes not only inspiration from nanoscience and quantum theory, but actually operates there. His current publication Quantum Art and Uncertainty (October 2018) is based on the concept that at the core of both art and science we find the twin forces of probability and uncertainty. Thomas’s internationally exhibited research projects have been based on working with scientist’s inquiring in specific areas of physics. The current creative practice ‘Quantum Chaos’ artworks are based on experiments done in collaboration with the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, UNSW. Publications, Quantum Art and Uncertainty (2018), Nanoart: The Immateriality of Art (2013).


  • Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, Barcelona

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