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Abraham Avnisan, QUANTUM COLLOCATION: Experimental Poems for Mobile Digital Devices


Abraham Avnisan is an experimental poet whose work is situated at the intersection of image and text, of the sensory and the symbolic. Each of his projects seeks to engage with a particular thinker, idea or theoretical field that challenges us to reconsider the most fundamental ways in which we understand ourselves and the world around us. His work has been published in Stonecutter, the Poetry Project Newsletter, Drunken Boat, Rain Taxi, and others. He holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Brooklyn College and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Project Description

Quantum Collocation is a work of experimental writing designed as an application for mobile digital devices. An interactive erasure of an excerpted page from a foundational essay by preeminent physicist Niels Bohr, Quantum Collocation applies the laws of quantum mechanics to the user’s experience of the work, allowing her to uncover a range of unique poetic possibilities within Bohr’s original text through her positioning and repositioning of the mobile device in space.

The work embodies Bohr’s notion of “complementarity,” in which the way an experimental apparatus designed to measure a particle’s properties is configured is crucial to determining precisely which of those particle’s characteristics become determinate at the moment of observation. In Quantum Collocation, Bohr’s words are the particles under observation, and the mobile device is the experimental apparatus through which those observations are made possible; each of the device’s unique positions in space uncover a unique poetic possibility within Bohr’s original writing.

Quantum Collocation deploys probability functions that determine how poems become legible to the user, creating a dynamic, non-linear text distributed across space and time. Yet rather than being algorithmically generated, each poem has been carefully crafted by the author, providing a unique series of literary reflections on the philosophical implications of quantum physics and the indeterminate nature of physical reality.

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