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According to the ideas of quantum field theory, reality consists of underlying interrelated layers of energy that constantly interact with one another. From this interconnectivity, “proto-reality” particles are manifested. This latent subatomic world of potentiality is the subject for artist Marios Athanasiou‘s virtual reality project Proto Ether Fields.

For the piece, Athanasiou has created three levels of proto-realities to explore—visuals of humming, vibrating geometries, warping grids, spinning orbs, and seas of oscillating abstractions. The three levels are Proto Energy which is energy as pure vibration, Proto TimeSpace where space and time become a single point looping with no direction, and Proto Matter where matter is infinite potentialities.

It’s kind of like what Ant-Man might see if he kept shrinking and shrinking within a realm of mathematics and possibilities. The levels are based on the scientific theories of both Sir Roger Penrose, a British mathematician and physicist, and the previously mentioned quantum field theory.

Sir Roger Penrose details three different kinds of reality—the physical, the mental, and a mathematical abstract reality. “These realities are in constant interaction with each other and it is this interaction that gives rise to our overall, human experience of reality,” explains Athanasiou to The Creators Project.

“Furthermore, quantum field theory envisages the world as having energy fields everywhere and the particles that make up our universe are just quantized vibrations of those fields. Again, it is the interaction of these fields that gives rise to our physical reality, says Athanasiou. “The architectures presented in Proto Ether Fields are part of this mathematical, geometrical reality of interacting fields of energy.”


Proto TimeSpace

Athanasiou has previously explored the concepts of quantum physics in installation artworks, but this time wanted to create a more immediate experience.

“Virtual reality gives us the opportunity to create a much more immersive art experience than we would otherwise experience at a look-at-an-object gallery,” Athanasiou notes. “Experiencing art using virtual reality feels like you are injecting the art straight into your brain neurons. It gives the opportunity to the participant to fully immerse as well as, in some cases, interact and participate with the artwork and not just be a passive receiver.”

To experience Proto Ether Fields you can download the web app at Athanasiou’s site.


Proto Energy


Proto TimeSpace


Proto Matter

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