Sunday, November 28, 2010

Heretical Science: Parallel Universe Exhbition

The idea that our world contains more dimensions than the physical three dimensions of space and one dimension of time is both unsettling and fascinating. Not only can we not experience these dimensions, the very thought of them causes our brain to run in circles. In contrast, mathematics and computers have no problems adjusting to this realisation.

Ian Carlo Jaucian is not a computer. He is troubled by these same problems. If extra dimensions exist, what might they be good for? What do they look like? Why are some physicist focusing their entire careers on the search for these illusive dimensions?

To tackle these questions Ian has devised a unique collection of original art pieces which he has titled Heretical Science, which has been on display in the Parallel Universe exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from the 26th of August until 2nd of October.

The evidence for extra dimensions is weak. Those who are believing feel justified in doing so based on their understanding of the String Theory or M-Theory. However the mathematics aren't finished and even if they were, undeniable proof can only come from experimental physics, not from theoretical foundations, not matter how beautiful it might appear.

However here too we have reason not to trust our eyes. Artists and mathematicians have taught us through their study of optical illusions that our perception isn't an accurate reflection of our vision. Instead our perception is created from visual inputs manipulated and distorted as they travel through a web of neural connections built by our past experiences which inevitably distract us from what is right in front of our eyes. So how do we know our brain isn't hiding something real and physical about the world from us?

Indeed our most accepted and tested beliefs in the physical world do indeed tell us that there is much that we haven't seen before. Ideas such as the bending of space and time, travelling to the future and wave particle duality of matter are Heretical because they go against our most basic intuition.

Every day objects can also allude to a strange underbelly in our physical reality. Take for instance the möbius_strip, which can be seen in a number of Ian's pieces. Starting out as a strip of paper, it is nothing but a simple 2 dimensional surface. However, give it a twist and tape it's ends together and it creates a three dimensional object that at least in one dimension, appears to go on forever.

Ian has used this object in many forms, including his mobis fractal and the klein bottle.

Parallel Universe is an exploration of the realm of physics in all its oddness. If you were to not keep up with it and only tune in every 10 years I'm sure you'd believe that current knowledge was made up of the ramblings of inmates of an insane asylum.

Physics research is discovering new realities of our universe that are more and more at odds with our every day perception which form the basis of the proof that what we see with our eyes is not necessarily a universal truth.

For a more in depth view of Ian’s ideas, see the logic behind his ideas which have been portrayed in the exhibition.

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