(automatic translation) “The enchantement of light particles” or quantum physicist „Mister Beam“ at the dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel. “At Documenta, quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger wants to show things that cannot be grasped by the mind. Will the art world be able to bear it,” asks Max Rauner in Zeit Magazin. And he continues: “Only a few weeks ago you could have said that physics was being done at Boltzmanngasse 3 in Vienna. Today it is uncertain whether that is all there is to it”.
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13) and its curator Chus Martinez, had visited the leading quantum physicist and, after “long and intensive discussions about space and time and causality and the things behind the phenomena and the relationship between art and science,” Zeilinger said, first invited him to her advisory board and shortly afterwards asked whether it was possible to show some experiments in Kassel. Anton Zeilinger agreed, “although this does not correspond to my job description as a scientist, and although it would naturally mean a great deal of effort for me and my staff, it would also be great fun”.
It was also a great effort to photograph the experiments for the occasion and above all to make visible what can hardly be seen by the eye. Because what Zeilinger and his colleagues are doing can be described somewhat poetically as “the enchantment of light particles”. Zeilinger calls it “entanglement”. This means that “light particles can be hundreds of kilometres apart and still be connected to each other in a certain way. If you intervene with one of them, you will immediately do the same with the other one”. This has been scientifically proven quite clearly. But not easy for the mind to grasp.
For Lois Lammerhuber and Martin Ackerl, at any rate, they were exciting days, using the case study of five experiments to make the invisible visible. Zeilinger says: “You have to imagine that if you detect individual light particles, you normally do the experiment in total darkness. For dOCUMENTA (13), I and my colleagues have found a method of making them visible in the light too”. And to this end, visitors are asked questions like: “What is the role of the observer?” or “Our world as information? Have fun.