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Schrodinger's Cat-In-A-Box
(set 1)
In November 1935, theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger wrote a reductio ad absurdum critique of a then-prevailing theory of Quantum Mechanics, in which he postulated a cat locked in a box, with a flask of poison that would be triggered by the decay of a small radioactive source. According to the popular theory, after a short period of time the uncertainty of the cat’s fate would cause it to enter a blurred state in which it was simultaneously both alive and deqd, until such time as the box was opened and the cat’s actual life (or lack thereof) determined. (In the real world, of course, a cat cannot embody both life and death simultaneously, hence the absurdum.) Since that day, Schrödinger’s theoretical cat has become a veritable superstar of quantum physics and pop culture.

To simulate Schrödinger’s iconic cat, I hand-stitched a set of stuffed toy cats, with half of the cats given “alive” faces while the other half were portrayed as “dead.” I also painted and decorated 8 identical boxes, then signed and numbered them on the bottom. I then mixed up the numbered boxes, and tasked my minions with distributing the cats among the boxes while I was out of the room. The boxes were then “sealed” with shiny, candy-apple-red ribbons that beg to be untied. (The ribbons have been knotted and stitched at the bow, to prevent accidental unsealing.) Because of this process, no-one knows exactly which cat is in which box; you are guaranteed to receive one cat from this set, but there is no way of knowing which is which. You may apply your preferred theory of quantum physics to your cat’s state… until the shiny, tempting box is opened and its mysterious contents revealed for good or ill.

You may of course open your box at any time, learn your cat’s state, and proceed to enjoy (or mourn) your new pet as you feel appropriate. However, once you know your cat’s fate, you cannot un-learn it. Please be certain you truly wish to know.

SET 1 is the first of (hopefully) many such sets of cat stuffies. It consists of 8 cats in 4 colors (white, black, grey, and mottled tan). The boxes for Set 1 are hexagonal, painted in black and red, with silver decoration. One of Schrödinger’s equations is written across the front of the box. It is signed and numbered on the bottom. Future sets will likely vary as to cat colors, size of edition, and shape/design of box. Every stitch in every cat was taken by hand, and the boxes were hand painted and decorated.


1 PHOTOGRAPH OF 8 CATS IN SET (in case you never want to open your box)

I am an artist, not a theoretical physicist, and this brief Wikipedia-sourced synopsis should not be cited as a source of serious research in the field of Quantum Physics.

For the sake of basic safety, as well as to avoid costly prosecution, no hydrocyanic acid or radioactive material has been used in this product. Despite this fact, this product should not be played with by children under 3, as it has small parts which may present a choking hazard. Toddlers are wily. Please play responsibly.

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