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Sound Design

Lucy Papadopoulos

Lucy Papadopoulos studied Art History at Sussex and graduated with first class honours in Fine Art from Brighton University, in which she completed a placement in Theoretical Physics. In 2018 she was awarded the Nagoya University Prize for Mesoscopic Object. In March 2020, Ocean Drifters was presented at IRCAM Forum, Paris and at the London Design Biennale in June 2021. She is joint founder of SPIN collective, with collaborator Susan Atwill.

For RCA2021 I am showing Es-sense, a collection of experiments using sculpture, interactive sound, film and electronics. These highlight the role of the non-human within the measurement problem of quantum physics.

I am an artist-researcher testing the boundaries between life and matter in order to deconstruct perspectives about our relationship with phenomena in our environment. Through critical examination of theories of knowledge, I aim to decentralise human perspectives. I investigate how meaning is created at the outer edges of what is known and knowable. 

I use a trans-disciplinary approach drawing on physics, psychology, neuroscience, climate science, post humanist and indigenous philosophy. My practice extends across sound, film, electronics, creative coding, interaction design and kinetic sculpture.

Es-sense - Descriptive Film — A walk-through film explaining each part of the collection.
Part II: Wave Machine
Part II: Wave Machine — Kinetic sculpture and robot arm. The sculpture is the wave-form which the robotic measurer inspects and affects.
Part I: Spinning Subjects (1)
Part I: Spinning Subjects (1) — These spinning subjects have a mind of their own, triggering light and sound. A non-human entity affecting a system of forces, like the physicist in the experiment changing the outcome.
Part III: Sound as a life-form (1) — Sounds play on their own accord but also examine and track the human skeleton, reacting to each person's movement. They are in conversation with each human that enters. Collaboration with dancers Ciar Wild and Emma Zajdlic.
Part I: Spinning Subjects (2) — Part I of project. Image showing front on view of plinth.
Part III: Sound as a life-form (2) — Alive sounds stand on legs at human height.
Physical Installation of 3-Part Collection

In the theory of quantum entanglement there is an instant correlation between matter like photons and other particles separated by vast distances. 

Within the physicist’s inspection of this phenomenon, the moment they measure any entangled attributes, the entanglement ends, and there is an immediate change in the whole system. This is known as the measurement problem, where the measurer is mostly described as human. 

However, it is the relationship between sets of physical apparatuses — the whole material context of the observation — that needs to be understood. The measuring process is also made up of non-human actants, for example a piece of scientific apparatus, which affect the outcome. It is not just humans that make the world intelligible.

Our theories of knowledge, right down to the building blocks of matter, centralise human perception. Es-sense is a collection of experiments distributing non-human measurers across a set of observable instances to highlight their role in our knowledge-making practices. How can we open up our perspective to matter around us and all its living perceiving parts?

The entanglement experiments have implications for how humans should think about their relationship to the material world. What difference would it make in our consideration of the energy policy were the non-human, for example electricity, to be seen not as a resource, commodity or ‘object’ but as a ‘subject’? 


Electronics, Creative Coding, Kinetic Sculpture