Chalmers University in Goteborg, Sweden asked me to participate in the AHA Festival, an academic festival created to reconcile art and science. They wanted me to create a work of art within the theme of physics. I chose two subjects: ‘Schrodinger’s cat’ and ‘Maxwell’s demon’. My whole life I’ve been interested in physics, quantum mechanics and how our universe works, so of course I was very happy to provide my interpretation of this subject. My artistic-scientific journey began with Schrödinger’s cat.
Schrödinger’s cat brought to life
Schrödinger’s cat refers to a thought experiment which was formulated in 1935 by Erwin Schrödinger to show the ramifications of quantum mechanics. With this thought experiment, he wanted to show how on the smallest scale, our universe is very unpredictable and how it goes against human intuition. To do this, Schrödinger connected the atomic level of the universe to our relatable world. Schrödinger created a hypothetical box which can kill a cat inside with a mechanism controlled by quantum mechanic events. Because of the nature of quantum mechanics, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead until you open the box. This insecurity disappears when the box is opened and you observe whether the cat is dead or alive.
To bring to life Schrödinger’s cat, I decided to create my own version of the experiment. I looked for ways to make my own confusing cat box. Eventually, I design the machine that will decide the faith of the cat. I put the cat in the box and sealed it shut permanently. Nobody will ever be able to open the box. The cat will forever be simultaneously dead and alive.
To accompany the box, I created a collage to show how I did my artistic-scientific research en how the box came to be.
Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment devised by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell to question the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I recreated this demon in my typical artistic style. It is a very interesting intellectual exercise, but to understand the details of it, you should go take look at Wikipedia. Below is the scuplure I made to celebrate Maxwell’s Demon.
The cat and the demon on canvas
To further expand on the installation on Schrödinger’s cat and the sculpture of Maxwell’s Demon, I painted my vision of the two thought experiments on canvas. In these two works, I incorporated many elements of physics. It became a thoroughly complex cartoon.
The Many-worlds interpretation
Quantum mechanics has inspired a lot of heavy thinking the last century. One of the theories inspired by quantum mechanics is the many-worlds interpretation. This theory, formulated by Hugh Everett III in 1957, says that every possible alternative universe exists. In the case of Schrödinger’s cat, the cat is both a live and dead, but in different universes. There are infinite worlds. There is a world where Clinton was president and a world in which Trump is president. There is a world where chocolate is green and a world in which the earth has four moons. I put this concept into a tableau that shows some of the possible worlds
And now for something completely different…
If you want to see this piece of art in real life, you will have to book a plane ticket to Sweden. I do not expect that people will start a major pilgrimage to theChalmers University to see my work, but that’s okay, because in my next exhibition I will build on this work. Want to know how I will do this? Come take al ook the first two weekends of December. Click the link below for more information.