Quantum computers are being intensely pursued by big tech companies, but they are not yet in the public’s consciousness. When fully developed, their immense processing power will undoubtedly change the world, enabling humans to see deeper into reality than ever before. This project aims to raise awareness around quantum computing through new visual languages developed through and about quantum programming, to speculate about its future risks and positive impacts.
As the first artwork using quantum computing, Ent- is a 360 projection using fantasy and sci-fi to create an emotional, embodied experience. It is a reinterpretation of the central panel of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. Just as The Garden of Earthly Delights is both a celebration of and warning against desire, Ent– explores our desires for new technologies. And situated between heaven and hell, it provides an analogue for the double-edged potential of quantum computing. The leap in computing power may exponentially accelerate surveillance capitalism, lead to new modes of warfare, and disrupt existing encryption methods. But Ent- also investigates the positive potential of quantum tech by accessing important concepts like superposition, which allows particles to exist in multiple states at once. Thinking in terms of these pluralities, experienced through Ent-,’s entirely new blurred, pixelated aesthetic, has the potential to break down binary thinking and allow for new paradigms around complexity.
Artist development, research, concept development, direction: Libby Heaney
Producer and experience design: James B. Stringer
Lead Unreal developer: Jira Duguid
Unreal developer: Gabriel Stones
Quantum computing developer: Libby Heaney
Sound: Nabihah Iqbal
Light Art Space (LAS)
Director: Dr Bettina Kames
Head of programs: Amira Gad
Assistant curator: Sophie Korschildgen
Curatorial assistant: Nicole Wittmann
Head of production: Jan Sauerwald
Exhibition production and design assistant: Harriet Collins
Head of marketing and communications: Felix Thon
Communications manager: Evelyn Nossol
The artwork was commissioned by Light Art Space (LAS)
Libby Heaney (GB) is a British artist who holds a PhD in Quantum Information Science and an MA in Art and Science. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including solo exhibitions at arebyte Gallery, London (2022) and Light Art Space, Berlin (2022). She has performed at Sonar Festival, CCCB, Barcelona (2021), and Southbank Centre, London (2022). As well as quantum computing, Heaney’s practice incorporates AI and VR. Heaney’s work often subverts the capitalist uses of these tools, forcing them to work against themselves to expose their drawbacks or alternatives. Inspired by Surrealism and Dadaism, Heaney’s work is playful and incorporates affect and noise to investigate subjectivity, truth and perception, as well as our seductive relationships with new technologies.