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Entanglement

vgaffney's picture

 In discussing her view of quantum entanglement, Barad reviews Einstein and Bohr’s understandings of objectivity. Einstein argued that there must be separability between the observer and the observed in order for there to be objectivity. Bohr, on the other hand, argues that the observer and the observed can be entangled because what matters for objectivity is that the object being measured leaves “unambiguous” and “reproducible” marks for the observer. Barad draws from Bohr’s understanding of objectivity and concludes that the human observer is not separate from the phenomenon he/she observes, but entangled with the object of observation. The human “seeks to understand the emergence of the ‘human’ along with all other physical systems”. Barad’s notion of object/observer entanglement, where the observer is not separate, but a part of the phenomenon which he/she observes came to mind during Professor Tian’s talk when he discussed what music is. What music “is” has been challenged recently, most particularly noted with the famous performance at Woodstock which consisted of (what appeared to be) pure silence and no sound. As David Tutor comments, however, the audience “missed the point, there's no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence, because they didn't know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds." Barad’s notion of entanglement came to mind during the discussion on musical notation, where Professor Tian mentions that on its own, musical notation is not music; the combination of notation and performer (who produces the music) is necessary to create the music. Taking Barad’s terms into account, I view the notation as the object being “measured” and the performer as the “measurer”; the performer and the musical notation come together to create music. The result is a productive “entanglement” of performer and notation where the performer (measurer) recognizes him/herself as an integral part of the process of music itself (measured). 

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