Perspective

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Markus_Raetz_Geneve_Oui.jpg

Artist Markus Raetz erected this sign on the Rue du Rhône (at Place de la Fusterie) in downtown Geneva. What it says depends on where you stand.

Here’s a similar idea exhibited in a gallery:

Misc

  • Conceptual artist Joseph Beuys accepted responsibility for any snow that fell in Düsseldorf February 15-20, 1969.
  • Any three of the numbers {1, 22, 41, 58} add up to a perfect square.
  • Nebraska is triply landlocked — a resident must cross three states to reach an ocean, gulf, or bay.
  • The only temperature represented as a prime number in both Celsius and Fahrenheit is 5°C (41°F).
  • “A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.” — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

“I was tossing around the names of various wars in which both the opponents appear: Spanish-American, Franco-Prussian, Sino-English, Russo-Japanese, Arab-Israeli, Judeo-Roman, Anglo-Norman, and Greco-Roman. Is it a quirk of historians or merely a coincidence that the opponent named first was always the loser? It would appear that a country about to embark on war would do well to see that the war is named before the fighting starts, with the enemy named first!” — David L. Silverman

Nothing Doing

forest protest

Invited to participate in São Paulo’s biennial art exhibition in 1973, French artist Fred Forest found a unique way to protest the censorship imposed by Brazil’s ruling junto: He organized a group of marchers to carry blank signs through the city. “Instead of calling on dissidents or students who could have been arrested and tortured, Forest hired fifteen men to carry the signs,” writes Karen O’Rourke in Walking and Mapping. “As professional sandwich-board men who work at street corners in the heart of São Paulo, they could not be held responsible for the content of their signs.”

The press published the marchers’ route, and the public understood that the blank signs reflected the government’s repression. Although it was against the law for more than three people to congregate in the street, Forest’s march attracted nearly 2,000 followers, and onlookers showered them with ticker tape from their balconies.

The police arrested Forest for holding up traffic, but he was protected by his status as a foreign artist. After several hours of questioning, they let him go.

Handimals

Using a body painting technique he developed in 1990, Calabrian illustrator Guido Daniele has created a curious zoo of animal images painted on human hands.

“Each painting takes from two to ten hours to complete,” reports Brad Honeycutt in The Art of Deception, “which means the hand models lending their exremities to the project must be very patient.”

Piecework

Artist Devorah Sperber plays with pixels. She renders an image at a low resolution and then replaces each element with a mass-produced object such as a spool of thread or a pipe cleaner. The results demonstrate how adeptly our brains recognize familiar images, even when given very little information.

She says, “As a visual artist, I cannot think of a topic more stimulating and yet so basic than the act of seeing — how the human brain makes sense of the visual world.”

There’s a gallery at her website.

Point of View

Felice Varini’s anamorphic paintings seem senseless until they’re viewed from the right perspective — the key is to find the correct viewpoint. (One clue is that it’s always 1.62 meters from the ground, the artist’s own eye level.)

“Varini catches our eye by introducing an anomalous element into our field of vision,” writes Céline Delavaux in The Museum of Illusions. “His paintings are like frameless pictures that give the illusion of a single plane in three-dimensional space. In his hands, painting works like photography: it flattens a space while revealing it.”

A Twist in History

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Max_Bill,_Eindeloze_kronkel,_1953-1956.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Swiss artist Max Bill conceived the Möbius strip independently of August Möbius, who discovered it in 1858. Bill called his figure Eindeloze Kronkel (“Endless Ribbon”), after the symbol of infinity, ∞, and began to exhibit it in various sculptures in the 1930s. He recalled in a 1972 interview:

I was fascinated by a new discovery of mine, a loop with only one edge and one surface. I soon had a chance to make use of it myself. In the winter of 1935-36, I was assembling the Swiss contribution to the Milan Triennale, and there was able to set up three sculptures to characterize and accentuate the individuality of the three sections of the exhibit. One of these was the Endless Ribbon, which I thought I had invented myself. It was not long before someone congratulated me on my fresh and original reinterpretation of the Egyptian symbol of infinity and of the Möbius ribbon.

He pursued mathematical inspirations actively in his later work. He wrote, “The mystery enveloping all mathematical problems … [including] space that can stagger us by beginning on one side and ending in a completely changed aspect on the other, which somehow manages to remain that selfsame side … can yet be fraught with the greatest moment.”

The Greatest

Artist Michael Kalish spent three years creating this portrait of Muhammad Ali from 1,300 punching bags.

It appeared in the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles in March 2011.

Figure and Ground

http://www.johnlangdon.net/works/philosophy-english/

Typographer John Langdon designed this ambigram for the Department of English & Philosophy at his institution, Drexel University.

“This illusion was a particularly difficult challenge,” he told Brad Honeycutt for The Art of Deception (2014). “My attempts to create more ‘conventional’ (rotational, mirror-image, etc.) ambigrams for these two words were unsuccessful. But my personal investments in both philosophy and language seem to inspire me to some of my best work. This ‘perception shift’ ambigram was very difficult to develop, but my stubborn persistence finally paid off. The two words ‘philosophy’ and ‘English’ can be difficult to discern, but with a little patience and a voluntary perception shift, finding them is particularly satisfying.”

There’s much more at Langdon’s site.