Constructive Interference in the mind

This sculpture demonstrates the ease with which our minds are mystified by optical illusions.

For all of the human mind’s natural processing power and creative intelligence, it is still bound by certain primitive limits. Optical illusions allow us to test some of these boundaries and deliberately experience the visual delusion that takes place as our brains try to make sense of incomplete things, filling in the gaps and closing the visual circuit on its own.

This video by Hypersonic and Plebian Design shows Constructive Interference, a massive optical illusion sculpture that was designed for the Learning and Innovation Centre of Oregon State University. It exposes the ease with which the mind’s eye creates additional dimensions that are not really there. The artwork consists of a spiralled web of steel mounted over a painted grid of the same colour and shape.

Though the two layers seem as one at the bottom of the installation, the laser cut steel layer is warped, bulging slightly outward towards the top. The overall effect is just confusing enough for the mind to project additional lines inside the sculpture that appear to be moving constantly – movement that is not actually taking place.

As the viewer changes perspective, Constructive Interference’s steel grid appears to cross over the two-dimensional one and the brain interferes by generating visual waves on its own that seem to pulsate between the two layers as a result.