The Art and Technology of Illusion: Magic Lanterns, Haunted Houses, and Special Effects
This course explores one of the richest areas of intersection between art and science: the creation of illusions. From perspectival drawing to movie special effects, illusions combine cultural creation with technical knowledge in math, optics, and the psychology of human perception.
During the course we'll look at a series of different types of illusions, from perspective drawings to stereographs, from anamorphic distortions to persistence of vision toys, from sleight of hand magic to modern special effects. We'll examine the cultural history and meaning of each illusion as well as learning about its technical underpinnings. Through a series of in-class demonstrations and hands-on activities, you'll learn some of the practical techniques required to use these illusions in your own artistic and interactive projects. Through art historical lectures and discussions you’ll gain inspiration and new context for your own work.
This class will draw on a broad range of technical skills from code to construction, from perspectival drawing to digital photography and digital compositing. Expertise is required in none of these, but flexibility and interest is needed for all.
Greg Borenstein is an artist, technologist, and teacher. He creates illusions for humans and machines. His work explores game design, computer vision, machine learning, visual effects, drawing, and comics as media for storytelling and design.
Greg is a graduate of the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program and has worked for firms such as Makerbot, Berg London, and Samsung. He is the author of a book for O'Reilly about the Microsoft Kinect, titled: "Making Things See: 3D Vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot", the upcoming O'Reilly "Getting Started with Computer Vision", as well as "Godzilla: Awakening" for Legendary Comics, the official graphic novel prequel to the 2014 Godzilla feature film.
He's currently a researcher in the Playful Systems Group at the MIT Media Lab.