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Krulwich Wonders: The Rubik's Cube That Isn't

Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 09:52 AM

NPR

This is your brain making things up.

What you see isn't really there.

Even if I tell you "this isn't what you think," you'll think it anyway -- until I make a simple move, and suddenly -- you know.

These illusions were created by an artist who calls himself Brusspup. What he does is an exercise in anamorphosis, a conjuring trick that takes advantage of how our brains make sense of the world. If you know how, you can create an image which makes no sense until the viewer happens onto a particular -- and it's a very particular -- spot. Once the viewer finds the right angle -- the only place where he or she can see what the artist intended -- suddenly, boom! -- the drawing leaps into three dimensions.

That's because in that precise location, the brain is presented with an impossible, contradictory set of inputs that it automatically reassembles into a coherent illusion. You know it's not true -- all you have to do is step an inch off your position -- but when it's there, it seems uncannily real.

I once wrote a post called Woman On Street Attacked by Giant Snail, It Seems that breaks this down visually. I used the chalk drawings of a street artist to show how it's done. Check that out, if you like. The cool thing about Brusspup, is he not only creates wonderfully cool illusions, he then posts the keys to what he's done on the You Tube site, so you can do them yourself.

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Comments [4]

Channing from Texas

Very Fun!

Dec. 30 2012 08:57 PM
Joe from UK

Pah, that's nothing, check this rubiks cube experiment out: http://www.lottolab.org/illusiondemos/Demo%2014.html

Dec. 11 2012 03:42 AM
L from Philadelphia

This is cool stuff, but you know, it's hardly new-- to present it as something modern is missing the interesting history of trompe l'oeil and perspective painting (cf. the Jesuit Church 'dome' from Vienna, or perspective boxes).

The work the chalk artists do is interesting, because they are combining people and trompe work, but this too has an aetiology: theatrical scenery has a long history of doing exactly that.

Perhaps even more interesting are the graphical methods that you can use to draft a particular view of any object from its plan and section, given a specific viewpoint. I'm not sure whether these artists are using those methods, or are using more modern computer-based approaches. But, the pencil-and-paper techniques for figuring out a given view of an object are super cool and play with fun principles of perspective and geometry.

Dec. 08 2012 07:22 PM
taralej from bed

nicey

Dec. 02 2012 05:24 PM

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