It’s An Illusion, Part 17 – Making Visible

Image from Hubble telescope, provided by NASA and ESA

Hubble telescope image of deep space, provided by NASA and ESA

NASA uses technology to make space visible to us.  M. C. Escher used art to make ideas visible.

Two heads float in space, the heads of a man and a woman.  They are not solid and yet the endless strip which defines them creates the illusion of two faces.  The faces of two people joined, inextricably, in Escher’s “Bond of Union”.

You have to look a little more closely to see what makes this bond so close.  The strip that winds around to create those faces has no beginning and no end.  It twines through itself, joining them at the forehead – a union in thought?

The heads exist in a space filled with floating spheres.  You look through them, seeing both the inside and outside of the strip, the inside and outside of their heads.  It all adds to the illusion that something solid but invisible is being made visible by the magic of the strip that winds around it.

The image invites you to look more closely  and to wonder.  You look at Escher’s endless, floating strip and you see people.    Why?


M. C. Escher, Bond of Union

Image of space through Hubble telescope provided copyright-free by NASA and ESA.


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