Throwback: Morphovision

Morphovision was developed by Japanese artist Toshio Iwai and the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories and presented in 2006 during the Ars Electronica Festival SIMPLICITY – the art of complexity. Morphovision created optical illusions by shining a special light on rapidly rotating objects. This created the impression that solids were melting or even falling apart. In Morphovision, a miniature house rotated, which could be illuminated with different light patterns via a keypad. The type of distortion depended on the light pattern chosen. For example, one lighting pattern gave the impression that the little house was completely warped, as in some cartoons. This and other effects were achieved by scanning the object with a beam of light synchronously with its rotation and changing the light pattern in real time. Unlike the artificial creation of 3D objects in computer graphics, Morphovision distorted real objects. Viewers were encouraged to think about the nature of images and what it means to “see” the world with their own eyes.

More pictures of over 40 years of Ars Electronica can be found in our archive.

In our Throwback series, we take a look back at past events, exhibitions, installations and other exciting happenings from the Ars Electronica universe since 1979.

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