Quantizing Art Movement Manifesto

March 2021

Quantum mechanics, even if unrecalled by most, enabling inventions such as microprocessors and solid-state memories, has opened the way to the present technological and digital era. The present information technology has disrupted the way we socialize and see the world. It is changing the way we learn and communicate. Today we face a world pervaded by technology. We measure our life according to parameters of profit, efficiency, success that have nothing to do with the essence of the individual. However, we are not made to think like machines driven by algorithms, we are not made to relate to others based on quantitative parameters.

What does this have to do with art and quantum mechanics?

Quantum mechanics disrupted the mechanistic conception of science: quantum objects have not a definite reality until they are measured. Quantum physics is weird, it is always surprising even for experienced quantum physicists. For example, the mere act of noticing can cause the collapse into a definite, though unpredictable and ephemeral reality. It shows that

Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.

Nielsen Bohr

We believe that this paradigmatic change offers the opportunity of a profound innovation of the relationship between art and science, between humanity and technology. Specifically, quantum processes and effects (unlike what happens in classical physics) have amazing analogies with the richness, uniqueness and at the same time multiplicity of our interiority and of our possibilities, with the complexity and indefiniteness of human emotions and interpersonal relationships. Weird quantum features and effects, such as the coexistence of ontological uncertainty and inviolable rules, the suspension between different realities, the deep connection between separate non-interacting entities, the impossibility of cloning a quantum state, the uniqueness and unpredictability of individual trajectories, and so on so forth, constitute a revelation and a synthesis at the same time of elusive, though deep, human features as consciousness, interiority, uniqueness of individuals, human relationships. Also, the capability of quantum computers to perform many calculations at once reminds the unconscious mind.

In the last few years, quantum mechanics is driving a revolution again. It is going to change dramatically the future of information technology. Quantum computers, taking advantage of some of the odd nature of quantum reality, are going to revolutionize the digital era. Despite recent achievements, the road towards quantum information technology is not straightforward but cannot be stopped anymore.

The time has come for a creating a new quantum Civilization. Quantum phenomena can constitute an artistic language and an inspiring model for getting insight into us, the human beings and into the deepest aspects of human relationships.

These analogies and recent studies in quantum biology suggest that the connection between human behaviour and quantum mechanics can be much deeper. We will see. Art must be ahead of time. The Quantizing Art Movement aims at exploring these connections.

This Movement recognizes a striking synchronicity between quantum mechanics and contemporary art, not sufficiently explored, especially in the field of visual arts. As observed by Umberto Eco, contemporary artists offer different ways of shaping ambiguity, that is, continuous attempts to shape probability and uncertainty. According to him, the definition of an ‘object’ is replaced by the broadest definition of a ‘field’ of interpretative possibilities. In 1958, He wrote:

The uncertainty expressed by certain works of contemporary art favours new interpretative possibilities, which, however, are not unlimited … In the realization of different degrees of ambiguity that are its own, the work of art at the same time also increases the dependence on the active intervention of the user, without however ceasing to be a work.

Umberto Eco

It is shocking that just replacing “work of art” with ‘quantum state’ and ‘user’ with ‘observer’, the above sentence also describes the observation of a quantum state.

Quantizing Art is a Movement that reconciles science with the creation of art. Scientists do not usually have a reputation for being very creative. They must adhere to the scientific method, use data, and carefully provide measurements—activities that would appear to take the magic out of the creative process. However, few would dispute that scientific and technological innovators were creative thinkers, gifted by creative imagination, passion bordering on obsession, ability to visualize, strong unconscious activity leading to creative illumination, aesthetic sense. That is all those ingredients that are fundamental in artistic creation. However, the mechanistic conception of the word, whose gears work with order and regularity thanks to pure physical-mechanical relationships, is the most distant possible from contemporary art. Quantum mechanics killed such a mechanistic conception.

Quantizing art is a Movement that pushes quantum mechanics out of its usual territory, as a new artistic language to explore the complexity and indefiniteness of the human being in his system of relations. Making use in art’s creation of the mysterious, though fundamental features of quantum mechanics, which are enabling the rise of the quantum information era, is key to this Movement. We aim at defending the beauty of the complexity, of the indefiniteness of nature and of the human being.

The adoption of quantum mechanics as an artistic language is far from being fully developed. It is exciting to know that we are at the beginning. Key to this Movement is such development. Technically, it is not a simple task to be able to transform computational quantum mechanics, or experimental results in this field in images able to communicate to people that may know very little about it. We think that we found some successful technique to do this. We will devote our research efforts to improve our language, our expressive techniques.

This Movement believes in “the usefulness of the useless”.

Real breakthroughs are not found because you want to develop some new technology, but because you are curious and want to find out how the world is.

Anton Zeilinger

Maybe that this Movement will bring more people closer to physics and to the quantum world, maybe not. Maybe it will push more scientists closer to arts and to enjoy free creativity, maybe not. Cross fertilizations between apparently distant fields are often beneficial to both. However, this Movement is not specifically interested to these potential outcomes, although it auspicates them.

Let us see … the uselessness of this Movement is promising!