Escher’s Gravity Defying Waterfall: Illusion or Source of Unlimited Energy?

August 24, 2011

When I was in college it was a requirement that you smoked dope, leafed through a book of the amazing print work of Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher and said, “Oh, wow, man.” I don’t know if that remains on the curricula today.

If you are not already familiar with his work, you’ve got an incredible treat ahead of you. His work is a fascinating and unique combination of mathematical ideas, illusions and art.

The video above is an attempt at recreating, in the real world, one of Escher’s most popular images, the endless waterfall. Remember, this is an illusion. Can you figure out exactly how it was done?

Here are two clues: forced perspective, painted shadows. Oh, and a video editing program. See the YouTube channel for creator M.C. Wolles for the full explanation. Well done, Mr. Wolles!


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