Exploring Quantum Through Art and Design

Virtual Colloquium

Colloquium Berlin University of Arts (c) Studio Quantum 'Exploring Quantum Through Art and Design' was a virtual colloquium organized by Berlin University of Arts in collaboration with Studio Quantum. It took place online between 19th October 2023 and 17th February 2024 and was open to students and the wider public. The sessions were held in English. The participation was free and didn't require registration. 


Speaker / Topic

19.10.23 Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost (Berlin University of Arts)
26.10.23 Prof. Dr. Janik Wolters (Technical University Berlin)

Prof. Janik Wolters has been head of the research group "Physical Foundations of IT Security" at the German Aerospace Center (DLR e.V.) and the Technische Universität Berlin since 2019 and is a member of the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF).

He studied physics at TU Berlin and Universidad Complutense de Madrid from 2003 to 2009. After a research stay at the Institut d'Optique, Palaisseau, France, he received his PhD in Experimental Physics from Prof. Oliver Benson at HU Berlin on Integrated Quantum Hybrid Systems in 2013. He then held several research positions in Europe, including Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Basel. 

Today, he and his research group are conducting research on the experimental realization of physical model systems for photonic and quantum information processing.

Introduction to the physics behind quantum computers
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Quantum computers harness the rules of quantum mechanics and translate them into unique functional features. Janik Wolters introduced the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and discussed the physical reasons for the hype around quantum computers.

09.11.23 Žarko Dumičić (Designer)
  Data Physicalization
16.11.23 Lucy Solitt (Curator)

Having originally trained as a philosopher, Lucy Rose Sollitt works independently as a curator, writer and consultant. Lucy specialises in art that creatively and critically reflects on emergent technologies, utilises alternative economic models for operating and supports an ecological sensibility. Lucy is motivated by the transformative potential of art as a form of felt knowledge and a gathering point for exploring alternative ideas for how things can be.

Lucy’s work includes writing, curation, strategy, funding and policy development. As an independent, Lucy works with organisations ranging from Serpentine Galleries, Rhizome Rupert and FACT, to the Goethe Institut, DACS, Creative United and the British Council. She previously led on Creative Media at Arts Council England (London office) and digital innovation lead for DCMS. She has worked for organisations including Tate Modern, the Mayor of London and the RSA. She regularly participates in panel discussions in the UK and internationally, lectures at Christie’s and the Royal College of Art, and mentors artists independently and (previously) for SPACE Studios. Lucy is an Advisory Board member for Furtherfield and is based at Somerset House, London.

Quantum Imaginaries: The narratives dominating the "3rd quantum revolution" and the possibilities for alternatives
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Lucy Sollitt shared her findings and expanded on her research into the 3rd quantum revolution for the Goethe Institut. She highlighted the dominant narrative framing the development of quantum computers - the latest wave of quantum innovation - and explored "quantum thinking" as a way to imagine alternative pathways forward.

23.11.23 Maya Georgieva (Parsons School of Design, The New School, NYC)

Maya Georgieva is a leading voice in the fields of immersive storytelling, design with frontier technologies, and the future of learning.  As the Senior Director of the Innovation Center and XR, AI, and Quantum Labs at The New School, she leads initiatives and a team focused on driving innovation in spatial computing, Generative AI, Quantum Computing, future interfaces, narratives, and design. In addition to teaching the Immersive Storytelling course and Mixed Realities at the Parsons School of Design, In 2023, Maya curated the first-ever Quantum Art Exhibition, 'Creative Expressions of the Infamously Counterintuitive' sponsored by IBM Quantum at the Microscope Gallery in Chelsa, New York City. In 2021, Maya created the first Quantum Computing Design Jam for creatives and has facilitated it three consecutive times. She has served as a final judge at the MIT Reality Hackathon in 2023 and press at SXSW. For Sigraph 2023, Maya collaborated with Sony visiting Scholar Keijiroh Nagano on the interactive installation and paper incorporating Augmented Reality and Generative AI: The Talk: Speculative Conversation with Everyday Objects. In 2022, Maya was named one of the 30 Higher Education Influencers to follow in the USA.
Maya is a sought-after speaker and has spoken about topics such as Immersive Realities, AI, and Quantum Art and Design at prestigious events such as SXSW, UNESCO, The Milken Institute Global Agenda, and conferences across the world. Her work has been featured in notable publications like The Atlantic and The Economist. Among her trailblazing projects with emerging technologies, she was instrumental in launching “Speculative Cultures: A Virtual Reality Exhibition” in early 2019 at Parsons’ Sheila Johnson Design Center, one of the first gallery exhibitions to integrate virtual reality headsets. As part of Digital Bodies, Maya was a partner with Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 - 2016 to bring cinematic and cutting-edge virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and participatory experiences to the festival.

Maya is the co-founder of Digital Bodies, a startup focused on XR and AI and their impact on media and society. She has worked to inspire innovation with major tech companies such as IBM, Google, HP, Microsoft, and Meta. Maya has spoken at United Nations, UNESCO, and European Commission forums on the ethics of XR and AI and education, policy.

This session will take place at 1:00PM-2:30PM GMT / 2:00PM-3:30PM UTC+1.
Hacking Creativity: Quantum Breakthroughs in Artistic Design and Innovation
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In this talk, Maya Georgieva shared her journey in developing the first-of-its-kind Quantum Computing Design Jam for creatives at The New School in New York City. It spotlighted the avant-garde collaborations and student projects that emerged from three Parsons School of Design's Quantum Design Jams. The talk also highlighted her curatorial role in the remarkable 'Creative Expressions of the Infamously Counterintuitive' exhibition, a partnership with IBM Quantum that explored complex quantum phenomena and artistic expression.

30.11.23 Zeki Seskir (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, QuTec)

Zeki Seskir is a doctoral researcher at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) and coordinator of the project "QuTec: Quantum Technology Innovations for Society." He conducts landscaping studies on quantum technologies (QT), education and outreach research in QT, and conceptual exploration for ELSA research for QT to be utilized in technology assessment capabilities.  He was a co-coordinator of the project "Quantum Technologies Education for Everyone [QuTE4E]" organized within the QTEdu CSA under the Quantum Flagship, and QTurkey, a local branch of QWorld, a global NGO operating in quantum education and outreach. His background is in Science and Technology Policy Studies (STPS) and quantum information science. His research interests cover a wide range of topics from quantum games to innovation ecosystems.

Value-embedding and Ethics by Design in Quantum Technologies
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Quantum technologies are considered by many as a nascent field, filled with great opportunities and grave risks for society. With the lessons learned from what is happening in the A.I. field, there is a general feeling of "doing it right this time around" in the QT community. One means of this is proposed as ethics by design approach and value-embedding starting from an early phase of the technology development. This talk aimed to open up the role of arts in this process to question and provide some examples from the QT field on how art-science interaction is being utilized for practical purposes in outreach and research.

07.12.23 Emily Haworth (Technical University Munich)

Emily Haworth is a Quantum Science & Technology MSc student at the Technical University of Munich. Alongside her studies, she created ‘PushQuantum: Climate’ which aims to support quantum technology to be an overall carbon negative endeavour. Through this, she has established collaborations with Munich’s Deutsches Museum addressing the role of technology in the environment and society. She is also part of the organisational team for the Quantum Energy Initiative (QEI), bringing attention to the importance of assessing the physical resource cost of quantum technologies. 

Quantum Dynamics
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The second quantum revolution refers to the extraordinary, innovative feat of developing new technology that actively manipulates quantum states. If realised, this in itself could already bring about social impacts, potentially through its applications or new understandings it brings. But even without any promise of what quantum tech could do… is there another revolution to be considering? How can art and design help to change how the development and adoption of technology is undertaken, such that we are guaranteed positive impacts?

14.12.23 Michael Dascal (Co-Founder of DiviQ)
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Quantum Technologies promise to open the door to new advances in materials science, medicine, AI/ML, climate modeling, and many other areas. At DiviQ, they believe that quantum technologies simultaneously offer a new opportunity - the chance to create a diverse and equitable ecosystem from the ground up. Michael Dascal discussed their approach, their efforts, and their plans, and what else they can do to help.

11.01.24 Harry Kumar (Artistic Director, Moth Quantum)

Harry Kumar is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Moth, with a background in the arts, philosophy, and mathematics. A key aspect of his role involves cultivating critical social discourse around emergent technologies, particularly quantum computing. He works to ensure that quantum concepts are present, accessible, and understood by the next generation of artists and creative developers. In the summer of 2023, he organised a workshop at Oxford University to discuss quantum physics, technology and the arts, with attendance from leading quantum physicists, philosophers, musicians and artists. Prior to founding Moth, Kumar co-directed a contemporary art gallery in London, worked as an independent curator, trained as a sound engineer, and held several artistic advisor positions. 

Moth is a quantum technology company developing applications for artists and the creative industries.

  Quantum Aesthetics and the Art-Science-Tech Relationship
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In this Virtual Colloquium session, Harry Kumar discussed the relationship between the Arts, Science, and Technology, examining the role of quantum physics and technology in shaping the arts and cultures of the future. Harry explored how this crucial relationship is evolving and provided an introduction to Moth, a new technology and arts start-up with a mission to unlock the potential of quantum for creativity.

The second part of Harry's talk focussed on 'Quantum Aesthetics,' loosely defined by ‘The Quantum Aesthetics Group’as a way of practicing art with a theoretical basis in quantum physics. The concept of ‘Quantum Aesthetics’ was explored through examples of 'quantum art' and related literature. The session concluded with an open discussion on how 'Quantum Aesthetics' may evolve as a result of advances in quantum technology.

18.01.24 Sophie Korschildgen (LAS Art Foundation 

Sophie Korschildgen is a curator in contemporary art and currently part of the curatorial team of LAS Art Foundation. At LAS she worked on the series of dance performances This Is Not A Love Show by choreographer Sharon Eyal, the newly commissioned solo exhibition Ent- by Libby Heaney, the artwork for pollinators Pollinator Pathmaker by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, and Marianna Simnett’s flute opera GORGON.

Materialising Quantum – On Commissioning Libby Heaney’s Ent-
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Libby Heaney's immersive installation Ent- takes quantum computing as both medium and subject matter. An outcome of a two-year research period supported by the Berlin based organisation LAS Art Foundation, the artwork explores the double-edged potential of this expectedly revolutionary technology. The presentation in the context of the virtual colloquium introduced Heaney’s artwork and wider practice with quantum computing, gave insight into the accompanying curatorial process, and highlighted the importance of artistic research on new technologies outside the structures of big tech.

25.01.24 Ilā Kamalagharan (Artist, Producer and Creative Director)

Multifaceted artist and producer, ILĀ's work traverses ethereal non-binary vocal timbre, dense sonic textures and quantum data sonification. Their work explores fluidity from personal identity through to socio-economic systems with a focus on physics, philosophy and emerging technologies. Their upcoming film MURMUR is a collaboration with Ai-Da (the first humanoid robot artist), Imogen Heap, Guy Sigsworth, Bishi and Portrait XO created using pioneering AI tools.

ILĀ has performed globally with recent commissions/collaborators including Turner Prize 2023 winner Jessie Darling’s MISERERE, Loomaland's Robot Swans, Kindred VR, the European Space Agency & Kent Refugee Action Network (Little Amal). As co-founder and director of legendary choir London Contemporary Voices, ILĀ has worked with over 20 Grammy winning artists including Alt-J,  Imogen Heap and U2 as well as two BBC Proms, the Harry Potter Play soundtrack and several iconic fashion shows for designers such as Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger. In 2022, they co-founded Trans Voices, the U.K.'s first professional trans+ choir.

Celebrated as a music industry changemaker, ILĀ sits on the Ivors Academy Future Sound Experience Council, are a member of Earth/Percent Music Committee, a Redcliffe Advisory ambassador and a PhD supervisor and research partner (AI & Music) at University of Sheffield.  ILĀ is co-founder and creative director of Maison Mercury Jones, the UK’s first (and only) trans+ queer POC led music branding agency working exclusively with composers from under-represented backgrounds.

Composing with Quantum
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A guided tour of an artist's journey engaging with multiple disciplines as well as pioneering technology. Ilā invited participants to join them throughout their creative process from developing their latest short film Murmur exploring AI, consciousness and grief to composing with the world's first quantum synthesiser (Q-Synth) and integrating biogenetic materials into the composition process (the quantum symphony of biology).

01.02.24 Eduardo Miranda (Composer)

Eduardo Reck Miranda is a composer working at the crossroads of music, science, and new technologies. He pioneered AI for music in the 1990s and has used AI to compose for the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers, London Sinfonietta and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He is a Professor of Computer Music at the University of Plymouth, UK, and an associate researcher at Quantinuum, where he is pioneering new approaches to musical composition with quantum computers. His latest books, Handbook of Artificial Intelligence for Music and Quantum Computer Music, are published by Springer Nature.

Quantum Computer Music: A Natural Progression
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AI technology for musical creativity has been evolving in tandem with the development of computers since the 1950s. Emerging quantum computing technologies function at the subatomic level and are subject to the laws of quantum mechanics. Quantum computers will likely impact how music will be composed, performed, and distributed in the time to come. This talk introduced the field of Quantum Computer Music and showed examples of how the author has been using it to create new compositions.

08.02.24 Dr. Florian Carle (Yale Quantum Institute)
  This session will take place at 2:00PM-3:30PM GMT / 3:00PM-4:30PM UTC+1.
The Entangled Marriage of Art and Quantum Physics
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How do you use art as a hook to make quantum physics accessible to all? Or is it the opposite? How do you use quantum physics to elevate art into something even more exciting? Florian Carle discussed the entanglement of Art and Quantum Physics and the other interdisciplinary initiatives that stemmed from the Yale Quantum Institute Artist-in-Residence program for some inspiration to create participants' own quantum inspired artwork. The first half of the colloquium was focused on teaching students and attendees some key concepts of quantum physics, presenting previous work and discussing science outreach activities, before breaking in small groups to develop the first draft of participants' own quantum artwork, guided by Dr Florian Carle who produces quantum artworks since 2017.