"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true science and art."
There's probably no other discipline these days that fuses art and science the way that photography does. Two manifestations of the human spirit with their own goals, one in pursuit of beauty, the other one searching for the truth. Two dimensions of the human experience that for a long time we thought were almost opposite and excluding each other. The left and the right sides of the brain, right? But are they really separated?
Somehow we have all inherited this idea that art deals with subjectivity, imagination, illusions, dreams, and science with objective reality, observation, material evidence, etc. This idea has been predominant in the western world in the last few centuries, with it's roots in the Newtonian conception of the universe as if composed of little elements called atoms, and with everything in it encrypted in a time-space, mechanical web.
What we don't seem to inherit so easily is the information of what has been really going on with science in the last hundred years or so, particularly with the development of quantum physics. What scientists discovered was that atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating. The vibration and strength of the energy creates the atoms, just like in a tornado, colliding and interfering with each other. As you focus in closer and closer on the structure of the atom, you see nothing, you observe a physical void. The atom has no physical structure, therefore the universe has no physical structure. In other words, matter in the way we perceive it is an optical illusion, a very persistent one.
Another shocking discovery was the phenomenon of entanglement, which basically shows that subatomic particles can communicate with each other instantly through space, no matter the distance. This, among other things, means that space cannot be what we perceive it to be, it's another form of illusion. And lately things has gotten even more disturbing with the observation of entangled time, in which two different events in time are the cause of each other, as if each were the first to occur. In other words, the present could be not only a consequence of the past, but also of the future. This is the science of today, where basically matter, space, and time are being found to be illusions, at least in the way we perceive them. It's like the whole paradigm in which the western civilization rest upon is getting cracked on it's very roots. And that's not all. Another major discovery is what has been called "the observer effect", which indicates that the very act of observing a certain object modifies the object observed, which means that no objective reality has ever existed, or at least no one has ever seen it, because the moment you see it is not objective anymore. Crazy? Welcome to the real world. Remember what we said about artists? Subjectivity, illusions, imagination, dreams. Well, it looks like that has been the science of the last few centuries.
And now let me ask: Is it possible that what many artists and even some mystics have been talking about for thousands of years could be some kind of perception or observation of a deeper reality? Wouldn't it be ironic? Remember William Blake: "If the doors of perception were open the universe would appear to man as it is, infinite".
Now when it comes to photography, what implications does all of this have? what does for example "the observer effect" means for us? do we modify an object when we photograph it? to what extent? how long will it take before our cameras start capturing a deeper reality? Could it be happening already? In his book "What technology wants" Kevin Kelly develops the concept of the Technum, as the emerging 7th kingdom of earth. Through the study of history he comes to the conclusion that contrary to what we see technology is actually using us to grow and evolve on it's own path.
Now imagine that you traveled to a planet where all the people there can only see in black and white. Wouldn't you want to tell them about colors? But how would you do it? You could spend there million of years explaining those people what colors are, how many colors there are, etc.. Maybe they believe you, maybe they don't, but it won't make any difference. Unless they actually see the colors by themselves they won't have any idea of what you are talking about. What if instead of talking to them directly about colors you found a device that could actually trigger something inside them to see them? Well, our cameras started seeing in black and white, now they can see colors. Is it possible that in the future photographic cameras will far surpass our vision capacities? I believe it's not only possible, but inevitable, that sooner or later they'll reach this reality beyond time and space, beyond matter. Quantum physics already did, photography is on the way. The magic world of artists and mystics will be visible to everyone. We'll see new colors, new textures, new shapes, new dimensions, things we could have never even imagined. Maybe we were never kicked out of paradise like the ancient scriptures say, maybe we've just been blindfolded. Maybe when we see that beauty in the pictures somehow we will recognize it, we will remember it and it will trigger our cells to expand and deepen our own vision, and we may realize that we've always lived in heaven without knowing it, with a blindfold. A heaven where art and science, magic and reality are one and the same thing, where time and space are no more a limitation, where the doors of perception that William Blake talked about are finally open and the infinite universe is revealed to us. Will this happen in our lifetime? Let's go and find out, let's go and take pictures.