How does Nothing become Something?
相 / Phase by media artist and creative coder, Seph Li is an interactive visual art piece exploring the mysterious process by which the micro quantum world of particles and quarks becomes our infinitely varied, macro, observable, lived in world full of people and things.
For 相 / Phase this enigmatic process is represented by unfolding patterns in a digital Chinese ink painting, as it interacts with your smartphone and computer. Every iteration creates a cosmic and unique experience for each user, where literally anything is possible. In physics, the observer effect is the theory that the mere observation of a phenomenon inevitably changes that phenomenon. When we hit ‘observe’ on our phone, only that one phase will remain. All other paths collapse, along with their possibilities, leaving you to explore your own personal universe on the screen.
Li was inspired by a theory put forward in 2020 by physicist Stephen Wolfram. He proposed that the universe could be made up of a set of simple rules that with repetition and expansion, could contain infinite possibilities for creation. This theory struck a chord with those familiar with the 5000 year old Daoist philosophy. The Chinese word Dao means way or path and Dao is the pattern and substance of everything that exists, the underlying natural order of the Universe.
One begets two. Two begets three. Three begets all things.
Tao Te Ching 5/4th Century BCE
A set of simple rules, that with repetition and expansion, could contain infinite possibilities for creation.
Stephen Wolfram, 2020
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