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What is Quantum Physics?

Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

  1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units. 
  2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves. 
  3. The movement of these particles is inherently random. 
  4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is
  5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

While at a glance this may seem like just another strange theory, it contains many clues as to the fundamental nature of the universe and is more important than even relativity in the grand scheme of things (if any one thing at that level could be said to be more important than anything else). Furthermore, it describes the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see. As Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”

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Shadi GHADIRIAN, The Qajar Series, 1998-2001

The Ghajar dynasty ruled Iran from 1794-1925; and from its inception photography was popular with the elite, documenting women as well as men. The images from this period tend to share stylistic devices: people are posed, usually as individuals rather than groups, in the very elaborate settings of their homes, often sat next to or holding prized possessions or objects of status. In photos of this period, women were permitted to be pictured in less formal dress within the privacy of their homes […] 

Inspired by 19th century photographs from the Ghajar period – the first portraits to be permitted by religious law – Ghadirian carefully reconstructed the opulent style of these images with the help of many friends: borrowing antique furnishings and costumes, commissioning the painted backdrops, inviting them to pose in the images.

Picturing each woman in a bygone era, each scene is jarringly interrupted by the presence of contemporary products – a phone, boom-box, hoover – pointing to a culture clash of tradition and progress. The women stare out from the photos with an unnerving directness, detached from their environment, and confident within themselves.

[…] In this piece Ghadirian’s surreal time-warp happens in reverse: the initial joke is that the 1980s radio is out of place in the antique setting, but it is the vintage scene and pose which is in fact much more modern. Ghadirian uses this subtle humour to describe a contemporary Iranian female experience of existing as if outside of time

Saatchi Gallery

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