Libby Heaney's practice involves moving image, performance, and interactive experience spanning quantum computing, VR, AI, and installation. Celebrated for her pioneering quantum-computational perspective, Heaney's background includes a PhD in theoretical quantum information science and 5 years of post-doctoral fellowships including running her research programme at the University of Oxford.
Best described as post-disciplinary, Heaney's work employs humour, surrealism, and nonsense to subvert capitalist appropriations of technology and the categorisations and control of humans and non-humans alike. Tools like machine learning and quantum computing are employed against their 'proper' use, to undo biases, and forge new expressions of collective identity and belonging.
Heaney's projects speak to the entanglement of personal and machine agency where the power of the participatory and the collective presents a possible alternative to the hostility of state surveillance, corporate data mining, and the quantum arms race. Ostensibly disparate, divergent, and wide-ranging, the works guiding questions include: what would it look like if art were able to interrupt the pace of technology to pose questions about its ethics? and how can humans and non-humans come together to co-author positive futures?
Via blurring, combining, remixing, and weaving (derived from quantum physics) to 'diffract' standard conceptions of 'truth', strange new forms emerge that question distinctions between fake and real, visible and invisible, private and public, the individual and the collective, especially where those categories are mediated by technology. Enacted by bots and people alike, Heaney's works draw from source material spanning pop culture (Spice Girls, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Whitney Houston etc), politics (Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, the British Citizenship Test), literature (Lady Chatterley's Lover, Haruki Murakami novels) & beyond.
Heaney has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions as part of the 2017 EU Capital of Culture, Aarhus, and at the Goethe Institute, London. Group exhibitions have included: Somerset House Studios (where the artist completed their 2022 residency), Arebyte Gallery, Tate Modern, ICA, V&A, Barbican, London, UK; Sheffield Documentary Festival, Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland; Sonar+D, Barcelona, Spain; The Lowry, Manchester, UK; Ars Electronica, Linz, UK; CogX, London, UK; Telefonica Fundacion, Lima, Peru. Heaney has received several Arts Council England projects grants and she currently lives and works in London.