Windows (Mattress Factory)

The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh
30 March 2012 - 06 January 2013
Exhibition Site

In an exchange with its virtual self, one window multiplies to two. The line drawing on the wall is an illusion, made to appear in line with the real window when seen from the entry door. Its virtual makeup--lines drawn on the wall--projects back onto the original window with corresponding lines. For a brief moment, as you enter the room, the virtual window achieves equality with its original, as the original slips away from reality towards its illusory reflection.

To create the illusion, centuries-old techniques of perspective and anamorphic projection drawing merged with new computational methods. The room was measured and input into modeling software. A false window was built and projected to a specific point: the entry doorway, 60 inches off the ground. A slice through the projected geometry at the side wall locates the image of the window aligned with the target vantage point. From this point, the illusion--a trompe l'oeil--renders the view of the false window as in line with the existing room.

Feature by Jordan Kushins on FastCo.Design

Viewing the piece from the entry door, the real and the virtual window are difficult to distinguish
As you move through the room, the illusion falls apart to reveal the distorted geometry necessary to trick the eye.
The optical trick requires careful manipulation over all surfaces to maintain the illusion from the entry door.
Diagram outlining the geometry of the illusion. A fourth window is virtually placed outside the room. Projector lines converge at a viewing point at the entry door. The image is painted on the side wall where the projection lines intersect the wall.