Quantum Biology

‘Coherence’ Shadow puppet video performance for Politics of the Machine confererence, 2021.

The Art|Sci Collective invited the POM 2021 conference’s audience and colleagues, to jump collectively with us from one space of possibility – where quantum mechanics asserts, we ‘don’t know’ and ‘can’t know’, to the next – in which experimental techniques such as time-resolved microscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy, single molecule spectroscopy, or even single particle imaging, enable us the precision of observing and measuring infinitesimal dynamics at very small length and time scales. What does quantum biology offer us as multiplicities and alternative realities when considering the attempt to subvert and confront absolute order, stability, and control in the socio-political sphere? We offer a rendomically guided  immersion in a sequence of live and pre-recorded video performances and video-poems, speculating on quantum effects in living systems, using DIY microscopy, data visualization, generative 3D modeling and animation, machine learning, and other media art techniques.

Professor James Gimzewski, Claudia Jacques, Professor Victoria Vesna, Mick Lorusso and Clarissa Ribeiro, ‘The Quantum Biology of Politics’ intervention at POM 2021 (screenshot/ Live on Zoom).

Lorusso’s contribution to the Quantum Biology of Politics intervention, ‘Coherence’ (2021), is a cross-scale shadow puppet performance which illuminates an allegory of coherence in natural systems as a counterpoint to the social decoherence of the present times. The shadows of heme and chlorophyll molecules, inspired by the visualization of molecular bonds and structures in specialized Atomic Force Microscopy (Jarvis, 2015), suggest a structural parallel between plants and animals for the highly efficient transference of electrons in both chloroplasts and blood cells (Wonderen, et al. 2021). The process of photosynthesis seems to harness quantum coherence, in which each electron travels across the chloroplast as an exciton in the form of a wave packet, to convert photons into chemical energy with almost no energy loss (Romero, E, 2014). The performance suggests that these quantum coherent states might actually extend from the molecular scale into relationships between cells, bodies, societies and ecosystems. How might a quantum coherent field shared between individuals influence the social and environmental situation of a place and the whole world?


Jarvis, S.P. Resolving Intra- and Inter-Molecular Structure with Non-Contact Atomic Force Microscopy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. (2015), 16, 19936-19959. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160819936

Romero, E., Augulis, R., Novoderezhkin, V. et al. Quantum coherence in photosynthesis for efficient solar-energy conversion. Nature Phys 10, 676–682 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3017

Wonderen, Jessica H. van , Katrin Adamczyk, et. al, Nanosecond heme-to-heme electron transfer rates in a multiheme cytochrome nanowire reported by a spectrally unique His/Met-ligated heme, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 2021, 118 (39) e2107939118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2107939118

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