Libby Heaney

Artist and Quantum Physicist
Libby Heaney photographed infront of her Exhibition "Ent-"
Foto/Bild Credit
Libby Heaney / Andrea Rossetti

Libby Heaney's post-disciplinary art practice includes moving image works, performances and participatory & interactive experiences that span quantum computing, virtual reality, AI and installation.

Heaney's practice uses humour, surrealism and nonsense to subvert the capitalist appropriation of technology, the endless categoriziations and control of humans and non-humans alike. Instead, Heaney uses tools like machine learning and quantum computing against their 'proper' use, to undo biases and to forge new expressions of collective identity and belonging with each other and the world.

Heaney's work uses diverse media & modes like blurring, combining, remixing, weaving (derived from quantum physics) to unsettle or 'diffract' standard conceptions of 'truth'. From these foggy modes emerge strange new forms that question the distinction between fake & real, visible & invisible, private & public, the individual & the collective especially where those categories are mediated by technology.

The works are played out by bots & people alike & draw on a wide range of source material spanning pop culture (Spice Girls, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Whitney Houston etc), politics (Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, the British Citizenship Test), literature (Lady Chatterley's Lover, Haruki Murakami novels) & beyond. 

Working, for the most part, at the intersections of quantum physics, machine learning & the visual, these disparate antecedents are employed & deployed to question orthodoxies—from received ideas about the body, gender & genius, to pop culture & class, alienation & solidarity, contemporary current political systems & rhetoric, nations & nationalism, science & art, and desire in the digital age—and explore alternatives.

Her projects speak to the entanglement of personal & machine agency where the power of the participatory & the collective presents a possible alternative to the hostility of state surveillance, corporate data mining, & the quantum arms race.

Ostensibly disparate, divergent, and wide-ranging, the works guiding questions include: what would it look like if art were able to interrupt the pace of technology to pose questions about its ethics? and how can humans and non-humans join together to co-author positive futures?