In 1900 scientist Max Planck
discovered that energy is quantifiable. That it is not a fixed universal
constant. He referred to this energy as “quanta”, quam
is an ancient word for “how much” like the Arabic “Kam”.
Everything in the universe glows with the light of its own
internal heat. Heat is the energy created by the motion of particles
which in turn release light. The speed with which particles move
determines the kind of light particles released by that object. An object whose
particles move very fast will appear blue. The particles in your body appear as
To quantize means to assign an amount. In physics, we
quantize the building blocks of light as an unknown, but assumed fixed
quantity, we have to assume they are fixed because the alternative would lead
us to believe that things are infinitely divisible into smaller and smaller
pieces, until space and time themselves regress into nothingness.
Today we are here to talk about everything, specifically
matter and systems of thought, what can you do with the limits of your
knowledge, can you hack your own weaknesses or ignorance? Can you play with
I was 32 years old when I learned about Duality.
Quantum Superposition posits that the unobserved particle
exists in all of its possible states simultaneously. It is only the act of
observing that fixes it. Before this, it has infinite possibility within
The double-slit experiment illustrates this. Firstly, it
shows us that particles of matter exist as both a wave and a particle
simultaneously - wave-particle duality - and that these natures are
inseparable. Electrons, like tiny individual balls of paint, are
fired through two slits in a card and collected on the other side.
But they don’t act like we would expect individual balls of
paint to act- creating two lines on the card as they pass through the two
slits. Instead they act as individual ripples in a
pond, waves spreading out and bouncing off each other, interfering with their
own path toward the card. Instead of two lines of paint, we see many lines,
stronger in the centre and becoming weaker at the edges. This is the
Interference Pattern. It shows us that matter, like light, is in a state of
constant flux between particle and wave.
The common definition of a hacker is that of someone who
accesses information by unauthorised means. Hacker culture, on the other hand,
The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy
the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming limitations of systems to
achieve novel and clever outcomes. The act of engaging in activities in a
spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed "hacking". However,
the defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed, but
the manner in which it is done and whether it is
something exciting and meaningful. Activities of playful cleverness
can be said to have "hack value" and therefore the
term "hacks" came about.
Stranger still, when scientists OBSERVE the tiny electron
balls of paint as they pass through the two slits, they DO NOT create this
interference pattern, but rather revert to acting as
we would expect them to at our scale - creating two distinct lines of paint
rather than the interference pattern. The very act of looking at the particle
means it acts as a ball, and only goes through one slit.
The observer collapses the wave function simply by
observing, fixing the nature of our electron ball.
I was 32 years old when I learned that wave-particle duality
is a lie. That wave-particle duality is both true and false.
In 1943 quantum physicist and philosopher David Bohm
discovered that electrons in Plasma stopped behaving as individual balls of
matter and began behaving as though they were part of a larger connected whole,
exhibiting an ability to organize themselves into what seemed like organic
units, in direct contradiction to wave-particle duality and Quantum Superposition.
Bohm states that
“Individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness”
That no thing can only be one thing
His theory of Quantum Potential thus leads us inevitably to
what Bohm calls the unbroken wholeness of the entire universe.
This is objective truth. This is something that we know. Yet
it cannot exist with wave-particle duality. Both states of truth and knowledge
cannot be correct, and yet they are. This is also something that we know.
What can we do with contradictory information? Can we engage
in double-think to our benefit? Are
we our bodies or are we not? Are we both at the same time? Is that what
we are doing when we dance? Inhabiting a dimension where we
both are, and are not, ourselves? And if so,
could a dance practice be considered a kind of hacking? Science has shown that dance improves cognitive function, it even
reverses cognitive degeneration. But could we
take it further? Could we use dance to address and readdress what it means to
exist in time and space? To be human? Is that what we’ve
I was 27 years old when I learned that love and grief are equal.
As my son’s heart stopped beating, mine in turn imploded and
exploded with pain and longing. Putting his tiny body in a coffin, removing his
physical presence from my own forever, was a process of pain and love so
overwhelming that I didn’t know if I could survive it.
In quantum physics, Entanglement occurs when two particles are so deeply linked that they share the same existence.
Entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect
the other, even when separated by great distances. These reactions happen
simultaneously, no matter where in the universe the individual particles are.
This one single aspect of quantum physics is perhaps the
strangest and most mysterious of all.
I was 45 years old when I started to learn that I am my body and my body is me.
A clumsy fall on an inconsequential shopping trip. A chance
convergence of position and movement in space leads to a chance convergence of
arm and spike. My body is impaled on a garden gate.
All probabilities become fixed and immutable as I become
fixed and immutable. As I pass in and out of consciousness
I observe my arm, with its surreal iron skewer entering just below my armpit
and protruding several inches out of my bicep.
I am fixed. I am broken. I am transfixed. I am detached.
I am in a hospital. I don’t know how I came to be in this place.
I am speaking to a surgeon. She removes the bandages, and I’m horrified by the hole through my arm. By the violence of
it. I am also fascinated by the layers of me that I can now
observe - skin ripped open, fat cells a vivid yellow, muscle that looks
like meat. It is me at a fundamental level, yet my knowledge of myself - these
constituent parts of me - is separate from me. I am in two states. I am
My body is beginning to knit itself together, creating again an unbroken wholeness.
I observe my arm, closed on the outside now. I learn about
the processes of scaffolding and regrowth that muscle and
skin and nerve and vein are doing without any conscious thought or
effort, or even medical intervention.
If an injury is a rupture to our system, do we then
incorporate that information into our identity and change forever? Do such
ruptures expand or limit our perception? Or both? Do we, once flung from our usual ideas of our bodies’ borders,
evolve into something strange and new, and can we draw on that information to
I start to learn how detached I am from myself. As if I
exist in two separate states simultaneously.
Wave and particle. Mind and Body.
What would a dance look like that is not
bound by space and time? Could it move back and forth? Could it rewrite
history? What if the dancer were so effective at creating
even the illusion of shifting between dimensions, at appearing not to be
subject to gravity? What happens in the mind of those witnessing such a
dance? If they can agree on these new weird laws of physics, does that open
everything to negotiation? Are we free to dance reality into existence as we
see fit? Or, to put it another way, are we free to do
anything BUT that?