‘World of Illusion’ explored at new OMSI exhibit

Can you really believe your eyes and trust your senses? During the Holiday vacation, see why this new exhibit will intrigue visitors …

Ian Brunswick, the head of programming at Science Gallery Dublin, explains the “Motion Aftereffect Illusion” at the opening of “ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems”, at OMSI.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It’s not just run-of-the-mill optical illusions. The new exhibition that opened at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on November 18, called “ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems”, provides a mind-blowing maze of sensory experiences.

“This is one of the exhibitions of which I was the head researcher, when it was created at Science Gallery Dublin in Ireland, in 2013,” said Conor Courtney as he adjusted “Columba” – the illusion of a young girl created through the manipulation of light and optics in OMSI’s Featured Exhibit Hall.

Just before the exhibition opens, Conor Courtney from Science Gallery Dublin, fine-tunes the exhibit, “Columba”.

“What I hope people take away from this show is a kind of a sense of how the world around us has so many illusory components,” Courtney remarked.

“Because we’re looking at the cognizant gestalt of how we understand the world around us, and process information continually, our brain likes to take ‘shortcuts’ – grouping like things together as a category.

German artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski shows how to view her creation, SIMULACRA, that she says is an “optophysical experimental arrangement building a bridge between media technology and perception philosophy”.

“By exploring the show, my hope is that people get a feel for the fact that, while you can know that an illusion is a trick, it is still absolutely true for your brain – because that is how your brain works,” Courtney explained.

His favorite display is entitled “Delicate Boundaries” – which creates a space where the animated bugs in the digital display seemingly crawl off the screen, and onto the visitors’ bodies.

This exhibit, entitled “Counter” is “a simple video-mapping piece, layered with animation to create the illusion of extra geometry – but it all comes from a single projection point,” smiles its creator, Anthony Murphy.

“This piece probes the modern relationship between virtual forms, and physical forms. Although it’s a really neat graphic projector trick, it gets people to consider that digital life-forms now have a place in our society, and in our reality, and are just as real as anything else we may come across in our physical world,” Courtney told East Portland News.

Those are only two of the more than 40 fascinating exhibits at this unique show.

OMSI President Nancy Stueber listens in on “Significant Birds”, an auditory illusion that explores how a single sine wave can be picked out from recorded speech, seeming to sound like chirping birds.

“This fascinating exhibit helps fulfill the mission of OMSI, because we’re all about inspiring curiosity and asking questions,” said OMSI President Nancy Stueber at the exhibit’s opening. “There is so much creativity here; I hope it sparks the creative imagination of all of us. Even more, perhaps, for future scientists, artists, and perhaps even illusionists.”

In this “Infinity Room”, built by OMSI for the exhibition, it seems as if one is able to peer into infinite space.

Should you always believe what you see? Can you trust your senses? Is anything really as it seems? Find out at “ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems”, open now through February 19; it’s included with OMSI’s general admission fee.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

>> On our Front Page: Visitors are surprised to see how this exhibit, “THE HURWITZ SINGULARITY” looks amazingly different from the side than it does from the front.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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