It’s An Illusion, Part 15 – The Mirror of Everything

Tom Dixon, Mirror Balls

Tom Dixon, Mirror Ball Pendant Lights

The interesting thing about a mirrored sphere is that you can see almost everything around you in it.  That’s because – as you realize when you think about it – everything around it is reflected in it.  What you see is limited only because you can’t see the whole surface at the same time.

The catch is that what you see is not as you expect to see it.  The curve of the sphere distorts as it reflects.  Straight lines curve and converge away from the point closest to the observer.  In a room, ceiling and floor curve toward each other.  Perspective as we know it is changed; there are no straight lines.

Escher observed this and was fascinated by it.  In “Hand with Reflecting Sphere” he recorded himself looking into this world of curves.  We see him looking back at us, and himself, from the centre of the image, the room curving away around him.  He is in the centre because that is the part of the sphere closest to him.

He shows us a man at the centre of his spherical universe, observed then recreated in two dimensions.  Something to think about.  After all, it’s an illusion.

Images:

M. C. Escher, Hand with Reflecting Sphere

Tom Dixon, Mirror Ball Pendants, shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license.

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