Your rating: None
No votes yet

SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2022

About the Film: 

In this audiovisual film, the StoryBursts team give a creative response to research on gravitational waves by Dr Linqing Wen at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav).

Scientists are seeing if treating black holes like quantum particles can help predict their behaviour:


Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.

Claire Bowen: Continuum was created in three different locations! In Australia it was produced and recorded on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country, Boonwurrung Country and Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar, and we also had three Singaporean team members who worked with us online.

Aiv Puglielli: Continuum was born from a respect for science and how to creatively interpret it. I conceptualised the idea of information and noise with Cheryl delivering spoken verbatim information via excerpts of Dr Wen’s interviews. The background of industrial, electronic beats provided by Singapore artist Germaine Png would reflect the extraneous cosmic noise scientists have to filter out to get to the actual detection.

Cheryl Chitty Tan: Once you hear about gravitational waves it’s quite remarkable as it’s one of the biggest events in physics in the last 100 years – the idea that time can be bent and the fact that it is real, not science fiction. I have always understood that art and science are two sides of the same coin — sharing similarities in creative understanding of the abstract. The fact that the producers are OK with the art being a lot more abstract and free is really cool! In most cases, it would be more for kids or presenting things in a box with a bow.

Rina Freiberg: The choice for me to visually respond on my first listening to the score/sound was so we could capture the electricity of a spontaneous reaction to the information. I like to work at pace - the work becomes instinctive. The delight of working digitally is that there is a limitless colour palette instantly available. The effects and tools essentially replace a paintbrush with a wand of texture, distortion and symphony. I went into this project with the intention to ride towards the frontier, surrendering the flow, the hum and the percussive crackles of the track. Infinities, depth, expanse and time can be conceptually daunting to visually capture - (Where do you start? When does it end?)

What is the science behind the film?

Aiv Puglielli: The film is an audio response to the cosmic phenomenon of binary coalescence, which occurs when two objects with strong gravity such as black holes or neutron stars spin and move closer to eventually collide. This merger phase produces gravitational waves that travel billions of light-years to be detected on the audio spectrum by observatories and supercomputers here on Earth. The visual elements were provided by an artist responding directly to the track. Continuum, as well as the other two parts of the ‘Binary Coalescence Project’, were endorsed by Dr Wen.

What makes you interested in quantum physics?

Claire Bowen: I find quantum physics has immense storytelling capacity as it is trying to tell us about the things that we cannot see, and I think that art does the same thing. StoryBursts as a writing program believes that artists and scientists speak the same language when it comes to the possibilities of communicating the unknown and newly discovered.

What reaction do you hope for from viewers?

Claire Bowen: I would like audiences, especially young people, to be invited to think about the future they want and what science may do for them in that future - and then be able to approach scientists with their own questions to create their own peer-to-peer interpretations of the knowledge they need.

Aiv Puglielli: Dr Wen and I agree that this kind of project impacts not only the creatives and scientists involved but also the audience differently to an outreach presentation. There is a lasting impression on the artists who have engaged with and created their own understanding of the science to collectively arrive at the final artwork, and we hope the audiences are inspired to participate in that process too.

What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?

Claire Bowen: We are thrilled! Continuum has been very hard to place in film festivals. But the excitement in the team is because Quantum Shorts is our first laurel, and a film doesn’t really exist until its first selection by a festival that understands it, and its first audience, it’s like quantum observation! Your audiences view our film and thus it exists …

Aiv Puglielli: Continuum has entered the real world in many ways; it has been played on Hope St Radio and I presented it to Gaming composers at Melbourne International Games Week. It is thrilling to know that somewhere in the world, a selection of film lovers watched it and thought it belonged to their film festival.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?

Claire Bowen: Everyone who is a part of Continuum is a long-term artist who has always been interested in science. The film is a genuine expression of their ongoing artistic practice. I’m happy and proud that the team came together to make something that has spoken to the Quantum Shorts audience.



About the filmmaker(s): 

Claire Bowen is the Creator and Executive Producer of StoryBursts and Aiv Puglielli is the Creative Lead of the three-part ‘Binary Coalescence Project’, which includes Continuum. For Continuum Cheryl Chitty Tan (Singapore) provided spoken verbatim information via excerpts of an interview with astrophysicist Dr Linqing Wen while sound artist Germaine Png (Singapore/Berlin) crafted the synthetic manipulations of real-time gravitational wave detections. The music was co-produced, mixed and mastered in Australia by Theo Carbo, with accompanying visuals created by Australian visual artist Rina Freiberg and edited by 3D artist and illustrator Carl Knox.

‘Binary Coalescence Project’ on Bandcamp:

Space+Time on YouTube:

P O N D on YouTube:


Aiv Puglielli:

Germaine Png:

Cheryl Chitty Tan:

Rina Freiberg:


Share this film

Quantum Theories: A to Z

I is for ...

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

D is for ...

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

P is for ...

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

A is for ...
Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

S is for ...
Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

L is for ...

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

L is for ...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

M is for ...
Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

E is for ...

As the world makes more advances in quantum science and technologies, it is time to think about how it will impact lives and how society should respond. This mini-documentary by the Quantum Daily is a good starting point to think about these ethical issues. 

R is for ...

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

E is for ...

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

R is for ...

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

A is for ...
Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

U is for ...

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

U is for ...
Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

G is for ...

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

G is for ...

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

Z is for ...
Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

S is for ...
Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

Q is for ...

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

M is for ...

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

S is for ...

The feature of a quantum system whereby it exists in several separate quantum states at the same time.

C is for ...

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now. This column from Quanta Magazine ​delves into the fundamental physics behind quantum computing.

D is for ...

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

H is for ...
Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

B is for ...
Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

H is for ...
Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

S is for ...

Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

Q is for ...
Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

I is for ...

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer

O is for ...
Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

A is for ...

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

N is for ...

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

V is for ...
Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

K is for ...

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

W is for ...

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

J is for ...
Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

Y is for ...
Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

T is for ...

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

X is for ...

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

P is for ...
Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

B is for ...
Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

T is for ...

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

F is for ...
Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

K is for ...

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

T is for ...

The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. On microscopic quantum scales, this seems less certain. A recent experiment shows that the forward pointing of the arrow of time remains a fundamental rule for quantum measurements.

W is for ...
Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

T is for ...
Time travel

Is time travel really possible? This article looks at what relativity and quantum mechanics has to say.

C is for ...

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

C is for ...

The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

M is for ...

Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

Q is for ...
Quantum States

Quantum states, which represent the state of affairs of a quantum system, change by a different set of rules than classical states.

Copyright © 2024 Centre for Quantum Technologies. All rights reserved.