Angular Field

2013, Mirror, Motor, Camera, Video Projector, 118 x 88 x 30 cm

[…] Angular Field (2013) is another example in which Oppl experiments with the Ames room known from perceptual psychology. The Ames room was used to demonstrate that a significant proportion of perception is complemented by experience, that memory forms a reasonable and comprehensible image of what we see. The Ames room appears to be perpendicular when seen from a particular perspective only with one eye. However, the true shape of the room is trapezoidal. This results in astonishing optical illusions. Persons or objects seem to abruptly grow or shrink when they move through the room. In Oppl’s Angular Field, similar to an Ames room, a black box performs a slow and continuous rotational movement. Inside there is a simple room with two silver balls that roll from one corner to the next following the movement. A greatly enlarged image of the room’s interior is transmitted via projection while the Ames room no longer appears distorted but perpendicular as the camera takes precisely the position in which the room seems devoid of distortion. This brings about the optical effect in which the balls seem to become bigger or smaller for no reason while they move through the room. A double discrepancy is formed between what we see through the window of the black box – a distorted room and two same-sized balls – and what the video image shows us, a perpendicular room and balls ever-changing mysteriously. […]

Jürgen Tabor