Going Quantum: Reflections From Authors Arthur Kroker and David Cook

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The Quantum Revolution: Art, Technology, Culture is about life today – its entanglements, creativity, politics, and artistic vision. Read the blog post from The Quantum Revolution co-authors Arthur Kroker and David Cook as they discuss their upcoming book, its implications on our modern, ever-changing society, and what it means to “go quantum.”

The Quantum Revolution: Art, Technology, Culture is about the world today. Marshalling the power of contemporary science as well as the creative perception of leading artists, The Quantum Revolution provides a lucid, creative, and critically engaged way of understanding key events – their origins, trajectories, and consequences.

The Quantum Revolution focuses on art as a powerful probe of contemporary society and politics. Guided by the artistic imagination of contemporary Indigenous artists, including Rebecca Belmore, Nadia Myre, and Jackson 2bears; by leading artists of bodies in pain, endurance, and sometimes ecstasy; by street art in the form of graffiti, photographic installations, and evocative sculpture; by emerging young women artists recreating the gateways of perception; and by established artists such as Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Horn, Francis Bacon, and Marcel Duchamp, The Quantum Revolution fully appropriates artistic perception as anticipatory of major changes in society, politics, and culture.

Taken at face value, the world explodes knowledge into the unknowable. Startling advances in artificial intelligence seize the technological initiative at the same time as global politics increasingly comes under the spell of right-wing populism; the rising generation of the young accelerates the movement towards social justice on questions of gender, race, sexuality, and ethnicity, at the same time as the older generation increases its bet on masculinist hegemony and nationalism. Russia invades Ukraine and the whole world is suddenly caught up taking sides on the leading historical struggle of these turbulent times. Hamas attacks Israel and Israel counter-attacks in turn, all with fully unpredictable consequences, but all with very predictable savagery of violence and sorrow of grieving hearts.

Taken at first glance, chaos crackles across the sky of social media, whole societies ride the choppy waves of the global information storm, individuals are tethered to mobility, seemingly everyone is swallowed by the powerful particle blasts of mass communication, with general anxiety accelerating, uncertainty spreading like darkness at dusk, and yet, for all that, everywhere and always sparkling flashes of creative brilliance in science, art, literature, cinema, video, music.

Welcome to the quantum world – a world where the most advanced concepts of science have slammed into the human condition in the form of massive technological platforms, artificial intelligence, gene editing, surveillance technologies, and ubiquitous data streaming. The world has literally gone quantum in detail and definition – everything now wave and particle at the same time, entanglement the rule of the game, virtual vectors and viral velocity the way things work in the data stream, spin the language of the gathering media storm, parallel universes of misunderstanding standard issue in global politics, the future a matter of probability, the present uncertain, and the past flashing before dazzled eyes as a warning of things to come.

Written as a philosophy of quantum physics, The Quantum Revolution translates the strictly scientific language of the atom with its electrons, neutrons, protons, and many other particles in between, into a new way of splitting the atom of politics, society, and culture – a new way of understanding the quantum turn in contemporary events. Whether we know it or not, whether we assent or not, we are most definitely living in the quantum zone – a time in which events move at the speed and unpredictability of the quantum world; a space in which the philosophy of quantum physics provides a deep, intense, and fluid vocabulary for understanding a world suddenly gone unpredictable, uncertain, confusing.

Accelerated by the artistic imagination, attuned to the growing mood of vulnerability and anxiety, alert to the profound insights of the rising generation of the young, and taking its cue from events everywhere – murder from the sky in the form of drone warfare, startling discoveries in deep space astronomy, the technological imperative that is artificial intelligence, gene editing for augmented bodies, The Quantum Revolution shifts easily from immersion in the particle blast of contemporary information society to riding the waves of artistic insight into the searing heat bath that is life in the twenty-first century.

The Quantum Revolution looks at the world anew with the eyes of an artist, the mind of technology, and the heartbeat of politics.


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