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Current Exhibition: ENTROPY

“…we defy entropy and impermanence with our films and our poems. We hold onto each other a little harder and say, ‘I will not let go. I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment. I’m going to extend it…forever. Or at least I’m going to try’”.

—J. Silva


This exhibition is embedded in what we know as “entropy”, the strange unwinding movements of existence, the inevitable disorder of all things, or simply put, chaos. Entropy is most commonly understood as an undoing of something that had been carefully put together: smoke from a cigarette, pencils from a neatly packed case. The effects of entropy lay bare the superficialities of structure itself. In scientific terms, entropy is understood as the second law of thermodynamics and can be defined as the degradation of matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. This nearly unimaginable state of uniformity to which all things return is often, and perhaps not unironically, referred to as chaos.


The basic law of the universe maintains that entropy is constantly increasing, leaving the structure-seeking human mind always at war with chaos. We consequently challenge entropy by continually looking to lay hold of what time and experience allows. Our intensive exploits into the nature of entropy is one of the most poignant examples of the great human tragicomedy—all things end, how funny that it should be just as it is.



“The concept of entropy is, so to say, abstract and rather philosophical” writes Bimalendu Roy. 


Known as the second law of thermodynamics, entropy can be defined as the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity.  This state of uniformity, an at-one-ment is often described as chaos, or the inexorable tendency of the universe and any isolated system in it, to slide toward a state of increasing disorder.  While the total energy of the universe is constant, the total entropy is continually increasing.


In the 2010 film Mr. Nobody, the following explanation is given: “Why does cigarette smoke never go back into the cigarette?  Why do molecules spread away from each other?  Why does a spilled drop of ink never reform?  Because the universe moves towards a state of dissipation.  That is the principle of entropy:  The tendency of the universe to evolve toward a state of increasing disorder.  The principle of entropy is related to the arrow of time, the result of the expansion of the universe.”


Astrophysicist Mario Livio states that “entropy is a measure of disorder.  It’s one of those things that affects everything from the emergence of life to the cosmic expansion”.  Renowned physicist Steven Hawking claimed that the increase of disorder of entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving direction to time.  “Disorder increases in time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases.  You can’t have a safer bet than that”.


Gordon W.F. Drake proposes that the concept of entropy provides deep insight into the direction of spontaneous change for many everyday phenomena.  Change is a constant product or force of entropy and ultimately inevitable in spite of any attempt to combat the chaos.  As Anton Chekhov said, “only entropy comes easy”. 


But, “just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy.” – Viclav Havel.  Life’s constant war with chaos becomes apparent in the systems and patterns we create.  One might even go so far as to say that consciousness is one’s greatest tool against entropy. 


“Death is not necessarily what gives meaning to life.  Life gives meaning to life, and what we do with life, which is to create knowledge like music, art, science.  To this end, I believe intelligent life might be evolution’s secret weapon: the ultimate hack that might help us transcend entropy” – Jason Silva.