Einstein Art at Innovation Center

By Christopher Cocuzza and Nicholas Lukow
SC Contributing Writers

The Innovation Center is home to a new piece of art. From a certain angle, you will see a portrait of Albert Einstein. From another, you will see a distorted image vaguely resembling a face.

This is an anamorphosis, an image that is purposely distorted so that the original image can only be seen from a specific perspective.

David Mazure, ESU assistant professor of art, and Jonathan Keiter, ESU assistant professor of mathematics, created the installation.

The installation has two titles: “It’s All Relative” and “Approaching the Speed of Light.” The former is the title of the undistorted image, and the latter the title of the elongated image.

The titles reference Einstein’s famous Special Theory of Relativity, part of which concerns length distortion at high speeds.

Anamorphosis has been around for hundreds of years, and inspiration for this project came from “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbien the Younger, as well as other pieces of anamorphic art. “The Ambassadors” depicts two ambassadors standing with an amorphous object between them. When viewed from the correct angle, this object is seen to be skull.

Keiter worked out the technical details behind distorting the image. He had to create a perspective grid that would appear normal to an observer at a certain distance from the wall and at a specific height.

He enlisted the help of ESU’s mathematics club, known as Euclid’s Element’s, for the project.

Students helped determine how to manipulate the grid by using chalk gridlines drawn on classroom blackboards. Keiter then generated the distorted image using a program called Mathematica. The image was then sent to a printing service to be printed on a sheet of vinyl.

Mathematica, the program used by Keiter to create this mural, can be used by anyone on campus.

The creation of the piece was made possible thanks to the support of Mary Frances Postupak and Carter McClure, as well as funding from an Entrepreneurship Across the Colleges grant.

The mural is open for all to see on the first floor of the Innovation Center.

Email Christopher at:
ccocuzza@live.esu.edu

Email Nicholas at:
nlukow@live.esu.edu

Leave a comment