Q is for Climate

“Quantum experiences can help people realise that things aren’t boundaried and fixed. Within the context of the climate crisis, it’s so important to understand that interconnectivity.”

Libby Heaney is an award-winning London-based artist with a PhD in Quantum Physics, who works across moving image, installation and performance, usually combining these with advanced technologies such as quantum computing.

In her work Q is for Climate (?), presented in Realtime 1: LILYPADS – Mediating Exponential Systems, Heaney asks ‘how will future quantum computers impact climate change?’ And ‘is it possible to use the lens of quantum computing to start thinking like the climate itself?’ In the work, the artist explores these possibilities by drawing from interviews the artist conducted with scientists at leading tech companies–as well as her own speculations around the radical potential of quantum computing.

Weaving Quantum Physics with aesthetics, ethics, and the absurdist aspects of historical movements like Surrealism and Dadaism, Heaney’s work embodies a disruptive quality that moves towards hybridity and radical interconnectedness.

Working through concepts from quantum information science, such as superposition – the queer, non-binary plurality at the heart of all matter – the artist searches for new modes of storytelling, blurring fact and fiction and embracing both narrative and visceral embodied experiences. This non-linear creative practice, a departure from traditional scientific research, gave Heaney the freedom to explore the realm of imagination, triggering unorthodox solutions.

Realtime curator and Scholar-in-Residence Charlotte Kent says, “Heaney creates a visual language that allows us to glimpse the possibilities of this alternate way of being, of knowing. Quantum computing does not depend on the binary language of ones and zeros, but a kind of movement that leads her to describe the code like a musical score. We see but we also hear in new ways, our expectations reformed”

Through her interdisciplinary practice, Libby Heaney crafts for us a new perceptual lens that views defragmented virtual and spatial environments, inspiring change at the intersection of art, science, technology, and society.

Libby Heaney is an award winning British artist and lecturer who holds a PhD in Quantum Information Science from the University of Leeds and an MA in Art and Science from Central Saint Martins in London. In her own words, Heaney makes “beautiful and disturbing art that brings together science, technology and society, creating virtual worlds, slimy sculptures and interactive environments that inspire change.” The artist has exhibited widely in galleries and institutions in the UK and internationally, including solo exhibitions at arebyte, London (2022); LAS, Berlin (2022); Holden Gallery, Manchester (2021) and Goethe Institut, London (2019), among others. Heaney  won the Lumen Prize and a Falling Walls Art & Science Prize both in 2022. Her works are in major private collections such as Zabludowicz Collection.