HILBERT HOTEL | 2020 | installation
How can a fully occupied hotel of infinite scale continuously accommodate an infinite influx of new guests? David Hilbert was among a contingent of mathematicians, stretching back to Zeno, who pondered such questions of infinitesimal spatial granularity.
“Hilbert Hotel” is a curvilinear ion trap that electrically levitates its myriad microscopic guests. These hollow glass microspheres float along startlingly square-shaped orbits, tracing the quadrupolar electric fields that keep them airborne.
When charged particles are levitated by electric fields an exotic state of matter emerges, known as a Coulomb crystal. Paving the way to quantum computers and to physics beyond the Standard Model, Coulomb crystals also offer uncharted perceptual territory. Their direct observability has lead to a series of ion crystal artworks that will culminate with Atom Chasm, a laser-cooled ion trap laying bare individual atoms.
This artwork was supported by S+T+ARTS and Creative Industries Fund.
© 1998 - 2021 Domnitch Gelfand