The use of technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and especially Quantum Blur in art is at an early stage and therefore in a phase of experimentation and discovery of their possibilities, potential outcomes and consequences. The artworks currently produced by Roman Lipski are examples of an ongoing exploration of these emerging landscapes, in a literal sense, as a landscape artist, and also metaphorically, treading the new territories that these technologies bring with them.
Roman Lipski is a Polish painter who has lived and worked in Berlin since 1989. His childhood in post-war Poland gave him an early fascination for vast landscapes and the natural world as opposed to human nature. He became famous for his familiar yet haunting landscapes, portraits and architectures, realistic yet detached from reality, which always leave the viewer with an enigmatic blank space to fill in. In 2016 he began the journey that led him to the creation of Artificial Muse, a digital entity based on algorithms that allowed him to freely experiment with the expressive possibilities of painting to move from figuration to abstraction. Lipski is one of the pioneers in the domain of quantum art, in particular in the use of Quantum Blur, a technique for manipulating images using quantum operations.

To interview him, I needed to delve into the concepts of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and above all Quantum Blur. And to do so, I had to resort to ChatGPT, honouring both, metalanguage and metaverse. We chatted about his latest show at the Julia Stoschek Collection, curated by Laura López Paniagua, which for 4 days turned into a workshop, about the current world and about the possible, among other aspects of this complex and trapping cosmos.
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Tell us a bit about Roman Lipski. How would you define what you do? Does it define who you are? If so, to what extent?
When I was 21, I decided I was an artist and from that moment on that was what I was. I practised and created art and improved my craft over the years, but I was an artist from the very beginning. That is why my work does not define me, but the unique perspective I have on life and reality that I share in my art.
How did you move from canvas to exploring technologies like VR, AI and QB?
As an artist, I am defined by my crises. I struggled to evolve my art into something more abstract, but adopting new technologies gave me the necessary inspiration to make something new. Every new instrument I have at my disposal is a new perspective I can explore in my paintings and art pieces.
How would you explain what QB is? According to ChatGPT, it combines traditional painting with digital technology to create abstract images that appear to be in motion or out of focus. The artist begins by creating an abstract image on his computer using image editing software. He then prints the image on canvas and applies layers of clear acrylic paint to create depth. This allows the digital image to remain visible creating a visual effect of momentum and depth. The result is a work that combines elements of traditional painting and digital technology. True or false?
Totally false! Quantum Blur is an open-source software. originally developed for use in Quantum hackathons. The idea was that people could learn about quantum computing by designing simple games. I became aware of Quantum Blur through my interaction with Zurich-based quantum scientists Dr James Wootton and Marcel Pfaffhauser. Since they are the developers of the program, we decided to start an experimental collaboration. Now after 3 years, we are a well-practised team. Quantum Blur encodes analogue images or drawings created by me into quantum states and manipulates the inference patterns with the basic elements of the program to create new effects and unique variations of my images. It is important that I not only define the input sources but am present for every creative decision of the process, like changing the unique dynamics of the Quantum Blur and use of the Quantum Interference effect.
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How is your work process? What software do you use?
Currently, QB is a large part of my process. I use a variety of inputs like something I paint or design on the computer and apply my software. I go into the details of it in the answer prior. But the process will also change depending on the medium I am creating for.
What is the relation between AI and QB?
Before working with the QB software I was training my own AI and through this collaboration with Birds on Mars I found great potential in operating as a part of a group. I started closely cooperating with people from different fields to broaden my horizon. At some point, I came in contact with the incredible researchers at IBM Zurich and we decided to work together on a project.
The title of your show at the JSC is a homage to science fiction legend Philip K. Dick, whose work often speculated on the nature of reality and its, according to him, multiple overlapping worlds (or landscapes). Tell us how you came to this and why.
With the use of technologies like VR, AI, and especially, QB we invited people to explore new worlds. Just like in fiction, these are landscapes we visit with our minds. They are imagined realities.
The JSC exhibition is unfinished. If we define it as “an exhibition about an exhibition that will be,” what do you think it could become? And what is the message you want to give before the act is potency?
I used the atelier to work on this QB and VR project with quantum software engineer Marcel Pfaffhauser and composer Kimin Han. Showcasing the process was about collaboration. The visitors shared their thoughts and ideas with us and Kimin Han, Marcel Pfaffhauser and I could create in a shared physical space.
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What do you think the function of an artist in society should be? Does it fit with reality?
Artists can underscore and amplify the awareness of societal ills and ask uncomfortable questions that hopefully motivate change. We have to keep asking questions even if we think we know the answer, and even if the question seems absurd, even if we don't want to know the answer.
The use of technologies such as VR, AI and, especially QB in art is in an incipient phase, and, therefore, in a phase of experimentation and discovery of its potential. What possible outcomes and consequences do you estimate?
We will see! This is an ongoing exploration.
What are your views on technology and the near future? Are there any aspects that scare you? Which ones fascinate you?
Technology doesn't scare me, the first thing I always see is the potential. The future is hard to predict because great leaps in sophistication can happen in mere moments. But one thing stays true; it is not the machines we have to hold accountable, but the people using and creating them. They are the ones deciding what the future looks like.
What inspires you?
Mostly nature, but also AI.
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