Schrodinger, the cat, modeling the Parabox
Schrödinger, the cat, modeling the Parabox.
Shrödinger will be on display in New York for Maker Faire from September 21st to the 22nd. For more information, visit: Maker Faire


Schrodinger, the cat, modeling the Parabox

Schrodinger, the cat, modeling the Parabox

The Parabox

Schrödinger is an exercise in frustration: the closer you approach the piece, the more difficult it is to see the subject. A box of one way mirrors encompasses a lit cat. Yet, as the observer approaches the cat, the lights lower. With lessening light, the material of the box becomes more mirrored and obscures the cat until, upon close inspection, there is nothing to see.


Schrödinger is the continuation of a piece I first created in late 2008, when I started at ITP. The piece is inspired by a 1935 thought experiment, Schrödinger’s Cat. Erwin Schrödinger was dubious of trending interpretations of quantum mechanics where subatomic particles having interacted, only collapse into a definite state of being upon being measured. He sought to demonstrate the absurdity of this concept by extrapolating this theory to encompass a cat hidden in a box were its life or death is determined by the state of subatomic particles. If current quantum mechanics were true, then the cat’s state of existence would only be definite upon observation by some external awareness (the scientist).

While it was intended to dismiss such shaky theory, the paradox has gained a hold in the popular scientific psyche. It is now a model used in demonstrating more recent quantum mechanical theories of superstates. Thus, when assigned to create a piece demonstrating analog input (variable values from sensors) I thought to create my own observational paradox, an interactive box where, the closer an individual came to observe the subject, the less visible it would be. While the first two iterations of the piece did not feature an actual cat, once given the time to create the piece as intended, it was inevitable that I would place a cat as the point of stymied observation.



Thank you Dana and Schrö!

Schrodinger's Parabox

The latest iteration of the Parabox.

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4 thoughts on “Schrodinger

    • How about this: If scientists kept retcijeng eyewitness accounts like this because of their (model-based) expectations and assumptions, what might they be wrong about in fields where nothing has been or could be confirmed by eyewitnesses, let alone video recordings? Look at how the nearly-insane (just look at some of the other things they believed, in addition to their rejected scientific writings) Freud and Jung influenced the study of the mind, look at some of the facts that have come out about Kinsey and his methods of scientific research ! Then there are sciences that deal with past events for which there are no written records, let alone objective scientific observations. I once had a historian/archaeologist get a bit miffed at me just because I asked when was the earliest event recorded from two different viewpoints (as far as I could tell, it was the Greek-Persian wars, but some Biblical events are also recorded on monuments of other cultures a bit earlier). Think of all the things we know about that really depend on partial knowledge, models, and assumptions! The age of the universe (which has dropped over 5 billion years just since I was in high school), the age of the Earth, many geologic facts (consider the resistance to plate tectonics and Bretz’ Missoula flood), the origin and history of life on Earth Personally, I think the term science should have been reserved for areas of study of the sort described long ago by Francis Bacon, where induction and deduction are balanced, and both have to take a back seat to what can be and has been observed and demonstrated, but that’s water under the bridge and out to sea long ago now.

  1. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  2. Pingback: Schrodinger II | Elizabeth Fuller

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