Math-Magic Vanishing Space

Qaudrix puzzle 1

Inspired from the astrological tables, here is a new puzzle of my creation designed according to the ‘Golden Number Rules’, which is reflected in the proportion of each single piece of the game. Thanks to the balanced dimensions of its pieces, this puzzle acquires some intriguing magical properties!

This “math-magical” puzzle is composed of a tray in which the pieces are assembled.

Quadrix puzzle 2

Puzzle Quadrix (aka Quirinus), © 1992, G. Sarcone.

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When Optical Art Meets Illusion

Some simple geometric patterns and designs, when repeated, can induce strong illusory shape distortions. Thus, visual misperceptions are very common in the op art world.

If dark and clear rectangular tiles are arranged in a checkered fashion, as shown below, there is obviously no illusion, but wait, just add at the intersection of these tiles some transparent dark and clear square patches, et voilà, magic appears!

So, transparencies can produce apparent linear distortions. The parallel red lines in this example look like being convergent / divergent.

ZigZag, 2003
Available as prints and canvases from my online gallery
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Op Art On Metal

Below are two neat optical illusion projects for which I was commissioned by “Art of Play”. From one perspective, the grooves in the metal die-cut bookmarks seem to be an abstract design but place the pattern against a solid clear or dark background and a familiar figure pops into view! These bookmarks are a sliver of wonder that hides between the pages to guard your place in any story.

Everything is relative with this magical bookmark of my creation depicting the famous theoretical physicist. Engraved with one of Einstein’s most famous quotations: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

Einstein bookmark – 1
Available from Art of Play:
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An op art sculpture and/or a fidget puzzle to play with over and over!

Dynacube” is a new line of 3D puzzles featuring my optical art. It isn’t just a puzzle but also a living piece of art. This 3D game is available in 4 distinct styles from Recent Toys:
Dynacube is a fun game for kids and adults alike to practice their logical thinking and motor skills.


Display with 4 distinct styles of Dynacubes

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Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion

Prize illusion sarcone

I am very proud that my “Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion” won the third prize as best illusion of the year 2017!

As you surely know, the “BEST ILLUSION OF THE YEAR CONTEST” is a yearly competition under the patronage of Scientific American, organized by the Neural Correlate Company (New York, USA).

Müller-Lyer’s illusion proves that a segment can visually appear longer or shorter depending on the sense of the arrow heads at its ends. In what consists my variant? As shown in the animation, the red dot in the middle of the line is equidistant from the other two red dots, although the ends of the line visually appear to alternately stretch and shrink like a rubber band!

The radial version of the illusion is even more impressive:

The perceptual increasing and decreasing of the segments occurs in a very short time. Thus, I suppose it is more a physiological phenomenon, rather than a psychological bias. Our attention seems to be attracted by the receptive field WITHIN the V-shaped arrow heads, causing an illusory inward or outward shift of the ends of the line.

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Bidimensional Müller-Lyer Illusion

I am working on a new two-dimensional variant of the Müller-Lyer illusion… You may be surprised to know that the Müller-Lyer illusion isn’t only linear: it involves plane geometry too! In fig. A shown below, the ends of the blue and red collinear segments, arranged in a radial fashion around a central point, delimit two perfectly concentric circles. However, for most observers, they seem instead to define a large ovoid that circumscribes another one, slightly eccentric (Fig. B). This comes from the fact that the red segments seem to stretch towards the lower part of the figure, while the blue segments seem to stretch towards the upper part of the same. As you can see, in this variant comes also into play the “neon color spreading” effect. In fact, a bluish inner oval-like shape appears within the black arrow heads (Fig. A), though the background is uniformly white.
Müller-lyer oval

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The Astounding Art of Arrangements

Sometimes, man lets himself go to this abstracted ‘diversion’, which involves assembling or arranging pieces, counters or any small familiar object. This compulsive behavior is evidence of a geometrical sense, which is natural and irrepressible. This is the same behavior, which drives some birds instinctively when they collect and group shells, glittering or colored objects to lavishly decorate their bowers. So, assembling and arranging objects is not only a cerebral activity but, indeed, a primitive geometric urge.
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