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Without an observer, there is no observation. Is it that the observation creates the observer or does the observation emanate from the observer?

The nuances of these complexities led to the exploration of quantum physics and eastern mysticism expressed metaphorically through a performative installation, ‘To Observe is to Change’, offering an understanding of reality in the context of the present moment.


Deshna is a visual artist with a passion for photography, writing and curation. After having graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, she moved back to India seeking to find meaningfulness and relevance of graphic design to the Indian masses through research, writing and her design practice. She works out of Mumbai and has co-founded a design and publishing initiative: Anugraha which serves as a platform to encourage and undertake collaborative practices in the field of visual art, design and research.

She truly believes that essence of everything tangible lies in the intangible; and that magic resides in the ephemeral, the elusive, the unseen, the emotive, the experiential and the subtle; which is what she aspires to express and experience through her engagement as an artist and co-curator at The Story of Light.


‘…what quantum mechanics says is that nothing is real and that we cannot say anything about what things are doing when we are not looking at them. Nothing is real unless it is observed… and we have to accept that the very act of observing a thing changed it.’
– John Gribbon

‘Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.’
– Lao Tzu

In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.

For an electron to become detectable, a photon must first interact with it, and this interaction will inevitably change the path of that electron.

In electronics, ammeters and voltmeters are usually wired in series or parallel to the circuit, and so by their very presence affect the current or the voltage they are measuring.

In thermodynamics, a standard mercury-in-glass thermometer must absorb or give up some thermal energy to record a temperature, and therefore changes the temperature of the body which it is measuring.

In quantum mechanics, too, the Observer Effect plays a large role, especially when it comes to measurement. Quantum mechanics claims that nothing is present or real unless it is observed, leading to a collapse of wave function and a subsequent conclusive observation.

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