Saturday, May 10, 2014

ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems at Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum

ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems, which runs until Jan 11, 2015 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum (1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, SD 92101) is a mind-bending new exhibition that combines science and art to deceive the visitor through optical, perceptual and audio illusions. It shows that what we perceive is often radically different from the reality of what we observe by playfully allowing visitors to experience concepts used by magicians and explored by neuroscientists. Click here to see a video about ILLUSION and click here to read about it in the New York Times.

The Illusion exhibition at the Fleet was traveled to San Diego from the Science Gallery at Trinity College in Dublin with 21 installations. This is a variation on one of the most unusual museums in London. Kinetica. For several years Kinetica has aimed to encourage and promote collaboration and cross-over between artists, scientists, technologists, engineers and academics in order to promote the development of this advancing multi disciplinary field. So what I saw first when I attended the super opening reception for this show .is art.  The idea that science is involved in creating these works and that the science is explained does not take away from the mystery of what I experienced. If it was only science, I don’t think that would be the case.

The photos below are not as informative as the video even though all the pieces are not in our show here in San Diego. I recommend that you click the link and enjoy as it will make you want to see the show even more. We loved  the oil can work which uses a strop light to make it look as if the water is going up into the can instead of the reality which is that it is dripping out and down.  Animatronics by Gregory Barsamian are always mind blowing and use the same strop light affect based on the same idea as a drawings or photographs watched through a slit in the zoopraxiscope. As it spends the images appears to be moving. By making a large 3-D spinning sculpture with repeated imagery, that same motion can be created in three dimensions.

One digital work by Chris Sugrue  looks like little bugs on a screen which swam in the direction of your hand touch. But when those same bugs starting climbing up my arm, it really did give me the creeps even though I knew they were projections of light. I adored the reflected image of a real running record turn table, superimposed with the image of a running man created by Pierrick Sorin.  Jonty Hurwitz uses forced perspective and a very simple focus circle in a work that leads you from 2–D outlines of head to a fully realized 3-D bust. 

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