Libby Heaney: The Evolution of Ent-: Q

Libby Heaney: The Evolution of Ent-: QX
26th May 2022 – 20th August 2022
arebyte Gallery
Java House
7 Botanic Square
London City Island
E14 0LG

arebyte Gallery presents The Evolution of Ent-: QX, an exhibition by artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney. The exhibition is centered around an immersive experience that probes the many futures of powerful new quantum computing systems.

At the core of The Evolution of Ent-: QX is Ent-, the first artwork that uses quantum computing as both medium and subject matter, commissioned by LAS (Light Art Space) and was first shown at the Schering Stiftung in Berlin, 10 February – 1 May, 2022. The immersive 360 ̊ projection takes audiences through three earthly layers of quantum experiments containing quantum hybrid lifeforms – fantastical creatures zipping in and out of dimensions – and pulsating liquid worlds that seem to shift and breathe.

Libby Heaney, Still from environment from Ent-, 2022

The Evolution of Ent-: QX includes additional works commissioned by arebyte that position the immersive experience within the context of a fictional start-up company QX, (Quantum eXperience). Heaney uses the pseudo company to prompt the viewer to consider the future of new quantum technological developments and how they may be utilised to extend current modes of surveillance capitalism and control.

Upon entering The Evolution of Ent-: QX visitors are presented with two films that parody a quantum technology launch. The films utilize hyperbolic language directly derived from large tech companies’ quantum promotional slogans, alongside slick visuals that promote profit over the transformative changes quantum computing is expected to have on the future of everyday life.

Here Ent- becomes rebranded as one of QX’s promotional tools that help sell this nascent technology, providing a new way of extracting data from their audience. After experiencing Ent-, visitors are led into a “hellscape” with slimy walls and an unearthly atmosphere. This is followed by a conclusion video work where QX’s promotion video for Ent- becomes overtaken by quantum glitches and amorphous forms: non-human quantum slimeballs that wreak havoc on QX’s carefully crafted product launch. Made in collaboration with Rosie Gibbens, custom seating and rogue tentacles hang from the gallery walls and act as the limbs of these slimy visitors, immersing the audience in The Evolution of Ent-: QX.

Only a handful of companies globally are developing quantum computers and Heaney has been working with IBM’s quantum hardware and Qiskit software, supported by LAS, for three years.

©2022 arebyte Gallery, Libby Heaney