Saturday, 7 March 2009

If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.

Our world could be nothing but a small grain of sand, part of an infinite number of other possible worlds that reside in parallel universes. More and more this hypothesis is investigated by physicists and cosmologists, some of whom believe that we are facing a new Copernican revolution which will radically shift our perspective. No longer does just one universe exist, but a ‘multiverse’ of varying universes, each with differing properties and their own space-time dimensions.

Physicists Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog note that if this is true, a linear vision of the history of the universe would thus be wrong. The universe doesn’t have a single history, say Hertog and Hawking, but every possible history, each with its own probability. The history of the universe cannot be interpreted as linear – with a starting point that continues until it reaches us today – but rather the result of ‘patterns of interference’ of all the possible histories of the universe. The present state of our cosmos arises, then, from the sum of all these possibilities.

Such discourse entails radical shifts in perspective and repositioning that clearly go beyond the scientific scope. When Hawking speaks of the universe originating from a quantum event, we are introduced to models of thinking where micro and macro visions enter into contact with each other. In addition, Hawking’s “Imaginary Time” concept opens up new approaches to looking at time dimension as if it were a dimension of space.

Above all, these researchers are questioning a system made up of abstract laws on which physics has been based until now. With a ‘multiverse’, the element of subjectivity overwhelmingly enters into play as a determining factor of reality. Hawking confronts us with a very suggestive hypothesis: the different histories of the universe are material which we ourselves elaborate, through the filter of observation, to be finally recomposed into a linear, personal history of the cosmos.

Through the exploration of the concepts of time, space and the role of subjectivity, If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse addresses art as a place where these ideas can be translated into form and become the location for interplay between artists, curators, academics and the public. The workshops will develop as a regular series of meetings in which the participants will contribute to discussions on the issues of time, space and its perception. Individual research and collective exchange will then be developed into an exhibition which will provide a public arena for our on-going discussions and ideas.


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