maquinas&almas - machines&souls

"The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science". Albert Einstein

Curated by Art Futura, at Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid 26 June - 13 October 2008

Enigma of Light


Wave FunctionAbstract Cosmology

Enigma of Light download video

The earliest piece, Enigma of Light, was conceived while still at Art College. I work with light and its transformation as it passes through transparent media. The softly changing chromatic light moves in a timeless everchanging flow. In choosing a name I recalled what Einstein described as his happy thought of trying to imagine what it would be like to fly along beside a light wave keeping abreast of the waves as he moved. This was his inspiration for the discovery of the Special Relativity. He realised if he moved with the light waves time would cease to exist. From the moment he joined the light on its journey until when he again parted company with the light, no time would pass, and even if the light was going on a great journey, between stars or galaxies, still no time would pass. While for other observers, in different frames of reference, aeons would pass; to Einstein his journey would occur in an instant.

Acylric forms and chromatic light, 2.4 metres x 1.2 x 0.2 metres.


Central to the practice of kinetic art is the development of new media and techniques. Some years after leaving art college, I decided to invent works that were three-dimensional moving light projections. The Spinors were a first step in this direction. They are illuminated with chromastrobic light, light that changes colour faster than the eye can see. Their appearance is a result of the interaction between their form and the light illuminating them. They take their name from the spinor, an entity that first emerged as a purely mathematical concept but soon became a fundamental ingredient first in Dirac's version of quantum mechanics and later in all particle physics dealing with spin. A spinor has the peculiar property that if you rotate it through 360 degrees, it returns not to where it started but becomes the negative of itself. Continuing to rotate it through another 360 degrees will restore it to itself.

group of 8 individual pieces, mixed media ~ 1.5 x 1.5 x0.75 metres.

Wave Function

Whilst researching the problem of 3D projection, I made a serendipitous discovery, which has become the subject of numerous light sculptures both small and large. You can download a video of me playing with a hand held version of this invention. The work on show is based on the small hand held light sculpture. The name of this particular piece, Wave Function, refers to the central idea in quantum mechanics first introduced by Schrodinger. The discovery of the wave function leads us inevitably towards a view of reality that cannot be consistent with a classical notions of what it means to exist.

Vibrating waveform, mixed media, ~ 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.75 metres.

Abstract Cosmology download video

There is still a physicist in me yearning to understand. The final piece, Abstract Cosmology, is concerned with a physics conjecture of my own. The artwork is the next step on from my earlier installation, Timeless Universe. It is a hybrid bringing together my interest in cosmology, computer programming and kinetics.

I believe causality in certain circumstances operates from future to past. The future, the present and the past are tied together in a subtle interdependence. The effects of the future on the past are mostly elusive and hard to detect. But at the moment of creation, in the absence of any other influence and with nothing preceding it, retrocausality predominates. This remains for now an abstract idea. It needs careful study. I hope I will inspire mathematicians and physicists to reflect. We need radical thinking, a fresh direction, and a willingness to consider what might otherwise be thought impossible. Only then will cosmology throw a clear light on our origin, the nature of time and just possibly, on how the mind operates.

Group of three individual pieces, mixed media with five video projectors, ~ 6 x 6 x 6 metres.


Directory of other artists appearing:

Theo Jansen

John Maeda

Sachiko Kodama


Ben Rubin

David Byrne

Amorphic Robot Works

Daniel Rozin

Daniel Canogar

Rafael Lozano