Entanglement : reimaging the crystal-image through the quantum lens

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What is a photograph? What can a photograph be? This doctorate synthesises quantum theory and post-structuralist discourse, within a media-arts context, to examine photography in new ways. Rather than the conventionally held view of the photograph as a static, purely material object, this exegesis argues that the photograph is better understood as a relational, fluctuating process. The identity of photography, its operation and the resulting formal and narrative consequences are the main areas of this inquiry. The original contribution that this doctorate makes towards research and creative practice is to provide a unique understanding of how photography operates through the philosophical lens of quantum science. Quantum theories such as ‘entanglement’, the ‘many-worlds interpretation’, the ‘uncertainty principle’ and ‘nonlocality’ are employed to consider photography as a destabilised and diffuse medium. Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the ‘crystal-image’ (1989) is applied to explore these questions within a media-arts setting. In this context, the actual and virtual converge, the real and the imaginary entwine, and the photographer, subject and spectator merge with the image itself. Together, quantum theory and Deleuzian post-structuralist discourse are engaged to reveal photography as an indeterminate and open-ended assemblage. The practice-led component of this doctorate, Duplicity, is a large-scale, site-specific photomedia installation that embodies these ideas. Out of this work, the concept of the intra-image is proposed as a novel interpretation of the photographic image – one that is fragmented, entangled and relational. This research aims to contribute towards work by scholars and image-makers operating in the domain of photomedia, within a media-arts context.
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