Announcing the 2023 EQUS Quantum Art Competition finalists!

We’re thrilled to announce the finalists of the 2023 EQUS Quantum Art Competition.  We were very impressed with the quality and variety of the entries, and with the different ways entrants interpreted the theme of ‘duality’—so impressed, that in addition to 10 finalists we’ve selected 4 highly commended works that deserve recognition.

Our expert panel of judges now have the tough job of selecting a winner and runner-up from the 10 finalists.  In the meantime, we’ll be busy planning for an exhibition of the selected entries to the competition, to be held at Flow Studios in Sydney, 16–20 May 2024.

The finalists and highly commended entrants are, in alphabetical order:

Beric Henderson (finalist)


Duality is a fundamental characteristic of our everyday world. From the binary coding of the digital world to other dualisms inherent in gene-defined gender, biological symbiosis, philosophical debate, politics, relationships and culture. We accept that things are black or white or somewhere in between. But the yin-yang of the quantum world is described as a fuzzy grey zone. A place of uncertainty where things beyond detection display wave-particle duality and whose existence can only be predicted in probabilities.

The artwork Synchrony was thus designed as an aesthetic visual representation of that quantum duality which cannot be seen. The work is an abstract 3-dimensional painting created by the meticulous application of ink and acrylic paint onto 40 sequential sheets of clear acrylic Perspex. Once assembled, encased and mounted on a custom-made lightbox, the illuminated artwork reveals a holographic image of a unique dualistic spiralling waveform in synchrony with a central particle at its core. The wave-particle form is shrouded by a particulate and translucent radial cloud.

In keeping with the theme, Synchrony describes a self-contained complex system (or subsystem) and the artwork itself is dualistic in nature, being a 3D hybrid of painting and sculpture. The piece reveals a nuanced symmetry and unexpected relationships of form when viewed from different angles and perspective.

Danyal de Gruchy (finalist)

We Are All Particles

“We Are All Particles” delves into the intricate concept of duality, drawing parallels between the enigmatic nature of quantum particle and wave functions, and human beings themselves. I believe we are in physical human bodies to have an experience of duality. We are the one becoming many to have the pleasure and joy of the experiencing the one again. Wave to particle to wave to particle. Like a cosmic dance of contraction and expansion. A universal breath in and out. To know, we have to experience not knowing. For light to exist, it must be paired with the dark, to cast a shadow. For Life to exist, there must be death. Duality is such a fundamental part of being human. And curiosity is the driving force of all action. We are the universe contemplating itself. We are but mirrors of the divine.

Each coloured particle within this piece represents a spark of that divine energy. Popping in and out of entangled existence, viewing the world from our own individuated perspective. Each painstakingly painted particle is a thought, a thread, an epiphany. Each particle is an observation of the world. Each particle is a version of life. Each particle is an experience.

Eunjoo Jang (finalist)

Accumulated time-space

My desire for space is not limited to physical dimensions. It encompasses the imagined and dreamed realms that nurture my soul. True living transcends physical spaces. Inner landscapes of dreams and imagination fuel our sense of aliveness, offering shelter and connection beyond location. This resonates with our digital world, where we forge diverse spaces, shaping and being shaped by them in a seamless dance. It is intertwined in a poetic sense in our consciousness and unconsciousness in the realm of blended reality. The reflection of our inhabited space where the non-I (virtual) protects the I (physical).  Memories can also feel fragmented or incomplete, similar to how a damaged scratch hologram might produce distorted or partial images. This duality reflects the complex nature of how we store and retrieve memories. Therefore, I create aerial views using line drawings and painting on aluminium for the physical or ‘real’ representation. Scratch holograms are then superimposed to represent ‘virtual’ reality.

Gözde Üstün (finalist)

Antimony Machine Gun

The artwork before your eyes has been my life for over eight months, and as I write this text from my office well past 10 pm, it becomes a testament to dedication. What captivates your gaze is the Antimony Machine Gun, my PhD project. Antimony is an element with a high-spin nucleus. With its 16 levels in a charged neutral state, it transforms the Hilbert space, where all two-dimensional vectors reside, into a 16-level wonder. This creation, both magnetically and electrically controllable, features eight distinct frequencies, illustrated by the arrow-like lines emanating from the core at the center— the antimony atom. The square-like shape encapsulates the essence of antimony, symbolizing our silicon chip where we artfully embed this precious element.

Within these eight frequencies, photons are emitted in such a way that they are encoded into these frequencies. The mystery lies in not knowing which frequency the photon occupies, making it a valuable entangled state for quantum computation. Is it the first frequency or not? The second frequency or not? Each frequency is a dance between photon and vacuum, a suspenseful revelation upon observation.

The excitement—and occasional frustration for me—lies in the continuous emission until the electron dephases. The dimensions of entanglement multiply themselves with each cycle a photon is emitted: 8 in the first cycle, 64 in the second, 512 in the third, and a staggering 4096 in the fourth. At the fourth cycle, a vast 4096*4096 matrix emerges. This artwork, born from the mindset of "if you can't understand, make it art," stemmed from days spent delving into the complexities of this colossal matrix. What I initially deemed an error turned out to be the inherent nature of antimony when fashioned into a machine gun. Until I figure that out, I was closing my eyes and trying to imagine antimony. This artwork is exactly what I was imagining when I closed my eyes and tried to understand what was going on. To make this artwork as exactly as I imagined, I drew a draft which included all the detailed science and then I used an ai application and trained it with my draft image for hours. Through countless sleepless nights, sometimes haunted by antimony matrices in my dreams, I finally grasped the intricacies. Now, relieved, I move forward to the next phase of my project with this artwork. The term "machine gun" transcends its conventional meaning; it signifies the creation of useful, continuous entangled states. In a world weary of traditional machine guns that sow pain and misery, this piece stands as a unique testament, striving to elucidate the intricate nature rather than exacerbating the world's woes.

P.S. I am immensely grateful to Simon, my beloved, amazing supervisor, who conceived the idea of the Machine Gun, guiding my passion for this project and leading to moments of inspiration day or night. I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to Andrea, my other cherished supervisor, who always pushes me to achieve excellence.

Jonathan Fae (finalist)

Between Worlds

The multimedia piece, “Between Worlds” is inspired by the concept of wave-particle duality and the simultaneous existence of human awareness in multiple states relating to how humans in one moment may appear to be a “wave”, and yet within another moment, acts like a “particle”. This artwork delves into the juxtaposition of constant motion and absolute stillness, reflecting the human experience of navigating through life amidst chaotic thoughts that often leave us suspended between different realms, different points of time & states of being.

Through this piece, viewers are encouraged to reflect on the intricate dance between chaos and order, motion and stillness, ultimately inviting them to embrace the inherent dualities that shape our perception of the world around us. The materials used for this piece include old photographs found at the tip used to weave a collage, painted over with acrylic.

Karalyn Shaw (finalist)

Quantum Yin Yang

This work was inspired by a 2023 article in Nature Photonics journal regarding biphoton digital holography - imaging of amplitude and phase of spatial biphoton states. Coincidence imaging of superposition of an unknown state with a reference state enabled quantum state tomography. A coincidence image of interference between a reference spontaneous parametric down-conversion state and a state obtained by a pump beam with the shape of a yin-yang symbol, together with a reconstructed amplitude and phase structure of this image imprinted on the unknown pump, were presented in the article. However, these images were misrepresented in the wider press, essentially, as ‘quantum entanglement is evidenced by a yin yang symbol’: duality (truth and fiction; fact and misrepresentation).

The duality is further encapsulated by: the yin yang symbol itself representing the interdependence of opposing forces in nature or the cyclical nature of life; the two, base large clear acrylic circular forms incorporating smaller mirrored, central, black and white (also, fundamentally, dual opposites) circular forms (enabling the viewer to contemplate their own ‘duality’ or reflection); and smaller red, yellow and blue semi-circular forms which, when overlapped with the second larger disc, create a red and green contrast akin to the reconstructed image in the aforementioned article (one of a primary colour with a secondary (duality again) on the colour wheel. Viewing the discs together as a sculptural installation, also invites the viewer to distinguish between seeing particles or waves (a fundamental quantum duality) - the circular forms evidence particles but the diameter lines (reminiscent of slope fields) of the bi-coloured, smaller circles within the piece, connect to reveal wave forms.

Overall, the work, created from translucent acrylic elements, depicts dualities within duality.

Lorry Wedding-Marchioro (finalist)

Nothing is, everything is becoming

There is a strange kind of reality which lies beneath our perception of the world. A paradox which contains the potential for light and matter to present itself as either a wave or a particle in a complementary symbiosis.
Science tells us that it is the excited vibration of particles which create matter in the material form. The sculpture Nothing is, everything is becoming, explores this concept, marking the moment when particles pop into existence and form into a solid state.

The sculpture acts as a metaphor to portray the invisible as visible, using material means to embody concepts of immaterial phenomenon in order to strive for a deeper understanding of scientific concepts whose meaning remains elusive to most.
Art and science exist at an intersection of inquiry into understanding the word we live in. By investigating each other’s methods we are able to come to new understandings of our reality and enable the possibility of perceiving our surroundings in new ways.

Minghua Xiang (finalist)

Celestial Realm

The concept of quantum originates from modern science's deeper exploration of the microscopic world. The spontaneous fusion of contemporary art and quantum enables this visualization process to display quantum aesthetics in a way that breaks through disciplines.

The wave-particle duality of quantum mechanics describes the two existence forms of microscopic particles, namely particle state and wave state. This duality of existence, under certain conditions, will produce a physical phenomenon called interference, and the visual presentation of the interference phenomenon is interference fringes. This striped pattern is fully demonstrated in my work Celestial Realm.

Drawing inspiration from modern microscopic molecular aesthetics, I pour ink onto canvas and observe the shapes it decides to form. It combines traditional Chinese splash-ink techniques with Western abstraction. It is a portrait and paean to every molecular life inspired by molecular aesthetics. It constructs a vivid visual world for the proposition of the relationship between the microscopic concept of human beings and the macroscopic concept of the universe - humans and non-human beings. It depicts a concrete universe that is naturally disordered, chaotic and fantastic from the microscopic perspectives of the West and the East.

‘Becoming’ is the core concept and methodology of my artistic practice. Its essence lies in Taoist and Zen aesthetics, Queer Theory and Posthumanism philosophy, thereby challenging binaries such as gender, sexuality and race. It transcends the Anthropocene, tolerates differences, advocates equality for all living beings, and paints a beautiful vision of harmonious coexistence for the current crisis-ridden international political relations.

Natasha Johns-Messenger (finalist)


In this artwork, Youturn, my exploration of quantum duality manifests through the deliberate use of identical structures and periscopic mirrors. The repurposed hardwood frames, containing Red-Gum cubed frames with Celery Top concentric circles, serve as a geometric framing device, creating a periscope illusion that challenges the boundaries of reality as if the artwork frames extend through the wall and back out again via the opposite corner. The artwork's essence resonates with quantum conundrums such as the changing behaviour of photons, wave or particle? Are you there through the wall? homage to the observer effect. As participant-viewers engage, the installation prompts a range of possible positions until observed, reflecting the uncertainty inherent in quantum phenomena. The dual perspectives echo the duality inherent in waves or particles, akin to the enigmatic double-slit experiment. Profound questions about what is real and the nature of reality in relation to perception are the core interest of my art practice and align with the complexities and paradoxes of quantum mechanics, inviting contemplation on the trustworthiness of our perceptions. What is real in my perception?

Sal Cooper (finalist)


This work is a hand-drawn charcoal on paper animation. The process by which I make this work is analogous to the duality of the particle/wave - it is created from hundreds of charcoal drawings on paper that I then digitise into a sequence of smooth motion. The magic of animation is an expression of the continuous transformation of a discrete single frame, filled with fragments of charcoal powder,  to animated continuity.

Alicia Sometimes and Andrew Watson (highly commended)

co / existence
by Alicia Sometimes (Words & Vocals) and Andrew Watson (Video Art & Sound Design)

‘co / existence’ is a poetic audio-visual narrative inspired by the paradoxical nature of light and the wave-particle duality. As a wave propagates, where is the particle? As we move through space, where are we? Who are we? Exploring the rich and vital playground of quantum physics, we experiment with sound interference patterns, decay, ‘phases’ of repetition and visual oscillations, diffraction and points of reference.

‘we exist as multitudes / manifolds of decisions / everywhere & nowhere at once…’

David Doull (highly commended)

Duality : One to Another
digital animation / installation

The starting point for this work was the resulting pattern from the double slit experiment. As it is possible to see that experiment as a starting point for quantum mechanics, it felt like the place to begin an artistic exploration of wave and matter duality.

The interference pattern is treated as a material object and then duplicated thousands of times. Each copy is moved and rotated to create wave like motion. The resulting patterns are mirrored and overlaid creating further patterns of interference.  The work also mimics a property of Quantum entanglement in as such that the pairs of coloured patterns have correlated but opposite rotations.

Karri McPherson (highly commended)


Quantum physics is a realm of dualities, where seemingly contradictory principles coexist in a seamless dance. This artwork delves into this dichotomy through the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, where particles become interconnected and lose individual identities. “Entanglement” mirrors the unity in duality, where opposites converge to form a harmonious whole. This painting portrays a dance of intersecting fractals, each point intricately woven with others to form a tapestry reflecting the dual nature of existence. Much like the multidimensionality of quantum particles, the layers of form unravel a kaleidoscopic fusion of patterns, suggesting the complexity that lies within simplicity. The blending of lines and shapes symbolises the fusion of opposing forces, akin to the dual nature of light—both wave and particle.

Entanglement transcends the boundaries of space and time, much like the fusion of dualities depicted in the painting. It is a reminder that the universe, at its most fundamental level, is a delicate balance of opposing forces entwined in an eternal embrace. Through this artwork, viewers are invited to contemplate the inherent unity in seemingly disparate elements, urging them to explore the interconnectedness of all things. Just as particles in quantum entanglement communicate instantaneously, transcending spatial separation, this painting serves as a reminder of the unseen connections that bind us all. Ultimately, this artwork is more than an exploration of opposites; it is a testament to the inherent unity that pervades our universe, where particles unite in a cosmic embrace, transcending the limitations of space and time.

Klaus Major (highly commended)

Medium: an original unretouched silver gelatin photograph, with hand coated emulsion on torn watercolour paper. Unique print (1/1).

The photograph ‘Paradox’ is a fragment, as if ripped from the quantum world, and represents particle-wave entities in an energy-rich quantum field.

A theoretical link between a property normally associated with particles – momentum – and a property normally associated with waves – wavelength, was developed by French physicist Louis de Broglie in 1923.  His equation p =h/λ (momentum = Planks constant ÷ wavelength), established a particle-wave duality.

‘Double-slit’ experiments were one method used to confirm de Broglie’s hypothesis. In one version, electrons were fired towards two thin vertical strips in a plate, and those that travelled through the slits had their position recorded when they hit a recording screen. In the results, there were not just two vertical bands recorded (as might be expected in classical physics), but instead there were multiple stripey vertical bands in an interference pattern. This pattern was still produced even if there was a real time separation between firing each electron.

A quantum explanation of this duality phenomenon draws on the concept of a ‘particle-wave entity’. As reflected in Paradox, the entities have both momentum (to generate a ‘hit’) and waves (to produce interference). A particle can be seen as equivalent to a wave packet, most of it actively ‘gathering’ around the particle. Parts of the waves extend to infinity. The particle-wave entities can move in an infinite number of ways, in all possible paths at once. 

Selina Decarlo (finalist, under-18 category)


Push and pull. Scattering and diffracting. Observer and the observed. A particle and a wave. Growing up as an only child, I was always wishing for a sibling (much to the indignation of my peers), and still often marvel at the possibility of an entity or relationship so analogous to one's own, yet conflicting, contradictory— dual in nature. 

My piece, ‘Triptych’, created for the 2023 EQUS Quantum Art Competition explores the many appearances duality makes in our lives, in nature, and the tapestry of possibilities that unveil themselves from such interactions, fascinatingly modelled in the double slit experiment and branched flow.

Twin panels surrounding the central panel represent complementary figures, overlayed by the double slit interference pattern in which an emergence of electrons in the far left panel ripples out and across to the right. A dialogue is had in this span. The central panel fortifies this, depicting a tree-like branched flow which connects the triptych throughout. Lotus flowers and leaves connect in tessellations inspired by M. C Escher’s geometric abstractions of mathematical concepts.

In the words of Werner Heisenberg: ‘the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of possibilities rather than one of things or facts.’ It is at times like these that I find science comforting, and that I feel less alone. Humans, who are rooms waiting to be explored hold the extraordinary potential to kindle connections. For relationships to branch out in every possibility. And for every action to hold a dual nature.

Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.