Jan Cieślikiewicz. Null Hypothesis

The modern world rejects randomness and shuns ambiguity. It strives for understanding, predictability; it gives an illusion of control. The media is full of experts confidently foretelling the future. The past is explained away with little room for doubt. Not having a stance is considered a sign of weakness. Yet the natural state of the human psyche, and our whole existence—call it our “null hypothesis”—is a state of confusion and uncertainty.

Null Hypothesis refers to one of the fundamental analytical research methods used across a variety of fields, from psychology to physics. In null hypothesis testing it is usually presumed that given observations result purely from chance, whereas the alternative implies influence by a non-random cause. The aim of this method is to reject the null hypothesis, and thus prove with certainty beyond reasonable doubt that the random explanation is false, and the hypothesised non-random one is true.

From everyday events to the most fundamental questions, on both a personal and a cosmic scale, we are surrounded by contradictions, unknowns, and change. Everything that seems to us to be absolute will come to pass. History is full of dead truths, and the people that fought for them. Religions, as timeless as they seem, have their beginning and will one day see an end. In science, basic concepts like time and space take on new meanings with each generation.

Some things are just not to be resolved.


Jan Cieślikiewicz (1979, Poland) is a Polish photographer, currently based in New York, where in 2013 he completed the General Studies programme at the International Center of Photography. He is also a graduate of the International Summer School of Photography masterclass in Latvia. His work has been exhibited in group shows and published in both the USA and Europe. Jan also holds a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University, was a Polish national swimming champion, and spent six years working as a trader on Wall Street.