ROBERT B. LISEK - QUANTUM RANDOM GENERATOR
ul. Słowackiego 19/21, Poznań
video by Patryk Lichota
The work consists of installation, action and program, whose goal is to extend the notion of art by dealing with randomness. I reveal the process of radioactive decay as the best and strongest manifestation of the idea of randomness. Thorium is a medium of my idea: I have chosen Thorium as radioactive particle, which is the source of fundamental random processes and is not associated with art. Thorium is a source of dispersion and real disorder. The use of Thorium is the use of raw material which is not subject to power of will. The real performative element contained in the action reveals pure process of decay and energy emission.
STAGE 1. Superposition of states
In the first stage I present radioactive material sealed within leaden container. The observer has no access to processes occurring within the container. Superposition of states in which the particles remain within the container occurs without the observer. A potential space emerges, consist- ing of particles that remain in a superposition of numerous states. If we interpret the formulas of quantum mechanics we can say, that the particles in the container do not exist in any particular place. Particles exist in many places simultaneously with a certain probability of occurrence. Without the observer it is a pure example of superposition of states and therefore a pure potential, which encompasses many different setups, including many past and future works of art.
STAGE 2. Randomness
The second stage of the action consists in opening of the container and applying the probe of Geiger counter to it. Gamma radiation is detected, which has completely random character. In the decay of radioactive particle it is impossible to predict when and which particles will be ’shot’. Geiger counter produces successive clicks, signaling shooting of particles by the radioactive source. The moment, in which a click occurs is completely unpredictable. The time between successive clicks is always different. This unpredictability indicates primal randomness existing in reality on a quantum level, which means there is no deterministic explanation of what is happening. The use of Geiger counter allows for printing sequence of random numbers, which are subsequently concentrated by sounds or light impulses and presented in the form of an installation. In the moment of applying the probe of Geiger counter, there is a transition from the phase of superposition to the phase of recognizing randomness. Potential space consisting of superposition of numerous states is collapsed to a precise sequence of light-sound impulses, which can be perceived by the senses. The speed of clicks has a significant importance and can be controlled by bringing the probe closer to the radioactive source or scaling the metro (sampling frequency) in computer program, which I wrote. Original program is used for reading clicks frequency, amplifying the signal and presenting it in the form of light-sound impulses.
STAGE 3. Cryptographic supplement
The above quantum experiment delivers random sequence of numbers, which can serve as a perfect cryptographic key. Part of work consists in ciphering a message with the use of such key. The ciphered message will be send to the headquarters of three intelligence agencies: M5, GRU and CIA. Since the key is really random, deciphering the message is impossible no matter how strong resources and computational power the agency has at its disposal.