Spooky Action at Proximity

Commissioned Installation, Stony Stratford, 2015, (paper, wire, acrylic)

This is a project about the phenomenon physicists call Quantum Entanglement. See text below:


When two particles are entangled, their properties become linked: what happens to one affects the other. For example (simplified), if you measure the spin of one to be clockwise, the spin of the other will be anticlockwise. Like other quantum qualities, the direction of this spin is in fact indeterminate – a matter of probability – until actually measured. This means that measuring one particle, actually affects the state of the other entangled particle.

What’s even more weird about this, is no matter how far apart you separate the entangled particles, this remains true. By measuring the state of an entangled particle here, the state of the other entangled particle would be affected even if it was on the moon. This reality is so fantastical, that even Einstein did not like this idea, famously dismissing it as ‘Spooky action at a distance’.

In this piece, I posit that there is no spooky action at a distance – in fact, although the particles may be a long way from each other in the dimensions we apprehend, they remain proximate on some other dimensional plane. This is illustrated by the long ribbon – if you trace it from one end to the other, the journey is long – however, the two ends remain close together in this space.

This project came about because one of the central concerns of my art practise overall is the way our cognition creates reality. I recently discovered that this dovetails very beautifully with the idea from quantum mechanics that we force something to be determinate by measuring it.

I would like to thank everyone who has kindly contributed their help and expertise to this project, including Dave Veater and St Cuthberts Mill, Colmet Milton Keynes, particularly Carl, Mr. Smith at Masterford, Richard Ball, Paul Rademeyer, Eleanor Stride, Paul Riggs, John Searles, Roddy Nixon, and Atlantis Art.

Very special thanks go to Hilly Edwards and Chris Williams, without whom the project could not have been realized (indeed, without whom I would succeed in creating very little!), and of course Robin and June, for their ongoing support and kind patronage.

This piece was kindly supported by St Cuthberts Mill based in England’s West Country, who are makers of high-quality mould-made artist papers.