Quantum Inkblot is a series of contemporary dance works that are inspired by topics of astrophysics and quantum physics. We are fascinated by questions such as, what is it like for humans to picture the infinitely small things, such as subatomic particles, to the infinitely large things, such as trying to grasp the size of a gas giant planet or the size of the expanding universe? How do we feel when considering both – the small particles we are all made of, but something we are not able to interact with with our senses (e.g., subatomic particles are too small to be seen by the human eye) and the almost overwhelming size of the universe we live in? What draws us to the questions to explore the realms of the very small and the astronomically large? What fears, hopes, and questions drive our scientific and personal curiosities? What are the unanswered questions in the study of quantum physics and astrophysics, and what do we project onto questions that are right now without answers? How do we perceive the quantum realm and the galactic realm? How do we displace our personal beliefs onto things we do not directly interact with or have only a beginning understanding of?

In other words, we are interested in how does the perception of quantum physics, astronomy, and astrophysics affect human worldview, philosophical beliefs, and emotions? How do these areas of study become an inkblot – something we project our our conflicts, fears, and dreams upon? 

In a sense, we are interested in psychology of perception – especially, how do we perceive topics that inform us about our world, but are extremely complex and have many unanswered questions. Quantum Inkblot explores these questions and curiosities through contemporary dance.

This series has a strong interdisciplinary component – we have collaborated with physicists who study particle physics, quantum physics, and astrophysics; psychologists;  dance artists; and musicians.

Several works in different stages of development are part of this series:

Archetype Particle

About: This piece explores psychological conflict that occurs as we strive to make sense of our complex world, from the mysterious and strange behaviour of particles in the quantum realm to the inner workings of the human mind. This contemporary dance work is inspired by psychological literature on Carl Jung’s Archetypes, particularly archetypes of Hero and Shadow. This duet explores how archetypes we cling to react to information that disturbs simplistic black-and-white dichotomies, like Hero vs. Shadow. Reality is hardly black-and-white, however. Regardless of what Archetypes we may hold dear, we all strive for a sense of purpose and significance. If we misinterpret the quantum world as ‘pure chaos,’ our movement towards meaning can be disturbed by fear and an urge to defend against an imagined enemy. However, if we misinterpret the conclusions of quantum physics in other ways, then we risk complacency and a distancing ourselves from reality. What is the truth about ourselves and about our world? How much truth are we willing to sacrifice for psychological comfort?

Choreography: Alina Sotskova. Dancers in the premiere: Sophie Brassard and Michael Demski. Collaborating physicists who worked with us during some of the rehearsals: Dr. Ewan Hill, Dr. Jamie Matthews, and Jason Kirkness. Other dancers and physicists were involved in the development of the ideas behind this work as well, such as in interdisciplinary dance/science labs.

  This work is completed. It has premiered in 2018 as part of Quantum Inkblot: a Night of Physics, Psychology, Dance, & Astronomy. 

Into the Black Box


About: This contemporary dance work is an exploration. In this work, dancers will respond to invitations from one another, but all the movement is completely improvised right in front of you. The dancers’ main task will be to delve deeply inward as they consider, in the moment, the cue that is offered to them, and then embody, in movement, what they find inside. This exploration will touch on themes of what fears, wishes, desires, and conflicts we project onto the quantum world and onto the seemingly infinite stretches of outer space, moving between trying to grasp unobservable smallness and the unimaginable expansiveness of the universe. Our goal in this work is to explore the tension between a dancer’s ability to generate a genuine, authentic response to a prompt (such as a word or an image) and the dancer’s perception of the audience watching them, including desires to create interest, desire to connect, and worries (e.g., about criticism, judgement, and novelty of their movement). We explore how these different desires and thoughts impact the dancer’s ability to connect with and show an authentic movement response: a response based on their intrinsic thoughts and feelings, and consistent with their values.



Artistic Direction/Concept: Alina Sotskova. Dancers: Carolina Bergonzoni, Sophie Brassard, Michael Demski, Alina Sotskova. Music: Andrew Short, Nuclides 5 and Geigercounterfeits, (composed with an integration of sounds from the Cyclotron, the particle accelerator at TRIUMF, a particle physics research facility at University of British Columbia).

This work is in very early stages of development. Our first practice with sharing this with an audience was in 2018 as part of Quantum Inkblot: a Night of Physics, Psychology, Dance, & Astronomy. 

Flow of Marbles


Flow of marbles is inspired by the notion of flow offered by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi defines flow experiences as moments in which “consciousness is full of experiences, and these experiences are in harmony with each other. Contrary to what happens all too often in everyday life, in moments such as these what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony” (1997, 29). Inspired by images by Andrew Short, two particles/waves/humans investigate curves, spirals, and the together-apart connection between each other.

Choreographed and performed by: Carolina Bergonzoni and Alejandra Miranda Caballero. Images by Andrew Short.

This work is completed. It has premiered in 2018 as part of Quantum Inkblot: a Night of Physics, Psychology, Dance, & Astronomy.