A digital render of the virtual reality experience Heartbreak and Magic by Libby Heaney. At the centre is an orb like structure from which grow branches and large red blood-like blobs float in the space.
Somerset House Studios

Libby Heaney: Heartbreak and Magic

09 - 18 Feb 2024
Tickets on sale 12 Dec
New Wing

A new virtual reality artwork and physical installation by the award-winning Somerset House Studios artist and quantum physicist Dr. Libby Heaney.

Drawing on Libby Heaney's own experience with personal grief and sudden loss, the artwork explores the non-binary and non-local qualities of quantum physics to offer alternative perspectives on how we think and feel about the self and existence. The immersive installation invites you to connect deeply with emotions by exploring the meaning of existence in both the physical and virtual realms.

Heartbreak and Magic will include virtual reality artwork set within a specially designed physical installation featuring mixed-media paintings, connecting to the virtual experience. You can expect a shifting, multilayered landscape that seeks to evoke themes of cyclicity, liminality, and the multiverse.

The installation continues Heaney’s explorations into the “magical” possibilities of quantum physics – in particular the inherent plurality and interconnectedness within concepts such as superposition and entanglement. Heaney developed the work through an iterative, experimental process involving both physical and digital forms of creativity, from movement practice, writing, drawing, and painting to bespoke quantum computing code and game engine prototyping. Heartbreak and Magic brings her experimentation with quantum computing into virtual reality for the first time.

Heartbreak and Magic is commissioned by VIVE Arts and presented in partnership with Somerset House.

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