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This Is What The World Looks Like, According To Quantum Mechanics

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The realm of quantum mechanics tells us that humans experience 40 conscious moments per second. These individual frames, or sequences of "now," amount to the way we perceive time flow. We don't realize the gaps in between these conscious moments, hence the fluid movement of our lives.

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While we live in the vivid frames that make up our experiences, one artist has attempted to capture the gaps -- or blinks -- in between the 40 moments. In a project that seems to stall time while illuminating its flip book-like passing, Isabel M. Martinez catches the hiccups of everyday perception in her stunning series "Quantum Blink."

The photos are constructed from two separate exposures, snapped only instants apart. The people inside the "frames" are acting out daily rituals, crossing the street or zipping a jacket, and seem caught in a state of unreality. Rather than simply stuck in one specific moment, the subjects appear somewhere in between the sequences of activity and the blinking millisecond of stopped time.

"I am looking for the line that divides the finite (probability) from the infinite (possibility)," Chilean-born Martinez writes. "If time is a succession of instants, I want to see what lies in between them. I am after the gaps between instants of consciousness." The striped pattern we see in the portraits "is the result of masks placed in-camera," Martinex adds. "This feature allows me to blend two images together and at the same time keep them from fully fusing onto one another."

Resembling a punctured piece of film, the photos are nearly incomprehensible as solid snapshots, mimicking the ins and outs of entropy. While it's not precisely what the world might look like in a quantum vision, the work is a slightly startling project that forces the viewer to decipher what's real and what's imagined, effortlessly urging us to reconsider the anatomy of a second.

  • Crosswalk (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Chevron #1 (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Talking Hands (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Dock #1 (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Pond (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Staff (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Chevron #2 (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Dock #2 (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011
  • Onlooker (from the Quantum Blink series), Chromogenic Print, 2011

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