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Artist needing some assistance with a project utilizing mirror reflections

  1. Aug 24, 2008 #1

    I am looking for a person to help me with a project I'm developing. I am using mirrors to bend reflections around a wall. I have a quick blueprint drawn and I'd like to talk to someone to explain them in depth...I think, theoretically it will work however I really could use some advice!

    I'd like to find one or two people who wouldn't mind me picking their smart physicist brains and continue through e-mail or even the phone if both parties are comfortable...

    Thanks for your time,

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  3. Aug 24, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    I don't understand the application- is this some sort of installation/optical illusion? What are you trying to do?
  4. Aug 24, 2008 #3
    Yes, I didn't describe it well at all.

    I going to describe my project to you visually first--- At least what I'd like to do- I've been doing more research and I'm not sure if it's possible now.

    In those two boxes, that you see in my (very crappy) blueprint I would like to create a situation where two people look at reflections of themselves but are looking into each others eyes.

    Imagine walking into a space, seeing an enclosed box on the wall- level with ones head. You put your head inside the box and look towards the wall. What you see is a mirror refection of your face- all but a horizontal rectangular hole- a strip where you eyes would be. What you see instead of your own eyes are another persons eyes (or empty space.. depending on if a person is in the other receptacle)

    I feel like it could potentially work from one side to the other but not reciprocally--- I want to create a situation two people can look into each others eyes inside a reflection of their own face--- ha. complicated.... i feel like i might need more then just a simple mirror.

    I could always just make a hole in the wall I guess... but common that's no fun...

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  5. Aug 24, 2008 #4
    It's a feasible idea since its really just two periscopes placed against each other.

    However, since the total length of path travelled by the light via the mirrors is longer than it would be directly through the wall, I would think the image seen is going to be largely smaller than normal. You could use a large lens to magnify the image somewhere.. but I don't have any practical advice on this sorry.
  6. Aug 25, 2008 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    Interesting idea.

    As jaseh86 points out, the pathlength from the two different components are unequal and so a relay lens (or two) are needed to ensure that the entire face is in focus at once.

    Another potential issue is the illumination- where are the lights?
  7. Aug 25, 2008 #6
    I figure that I should keep the top of the boxes open- all I need is to construct four walls and I'll be able to use the the light from the gallery.

    I altered the drawing to specify lens placement. Should this be best? Additionally--- There are many types of lenses out there... There are projection lenses and double convex and plano-convex... etc... Should I experiment with types? Should the angle of the lens to the wall match that of the mirror? It would probably be best to figure this out physically....

    I'm going to start some preliminary experiments with the mirrors to gain some insight. I'll do this today and post my results.

    BTW thanks for your input so far! It's very helpful--- I didn't think of needing lenses.
  8. Aug 25, 2008 #7
    I think there is a problem with the design... If all the mirrors are at 45 degree angles they will only be creating a loop within each other --- I need to use a mirror and somehow direct it's reflection at a 45 degree angle to the receiving mirror to be bent around the wall....

    Will a beam splitter do this for me?

    These questions are complicated. And will probably get more complicated... Can anyone put me in touch with someone who is familiar with optics or could work more with me on this? I could probably call a optics supply store and get their opinion... I found one in China (no good- ha) Any advice on how to proceed?
  9. Aug 26, 2008 #8

    Andy Resnick

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    I think the design can be made to work- there just a lot of subtle details that have to be accounted for, like depth perception. But yes, the final design is likely to be complex and require good alignment.

    I'd say try the easy thing first- do a mock-up with some mirrors that you may already have- or go to a drugstore and buy a few cheap ones. Try it out, see what happens.
  10. Aug 27, 2008 #9
    think you might be going about this the wrong way. First of all cutting holes for the eyes and letting the two persons stand on either side of the mirror would do the trick. Indeed though, there is nothing impressive about that. Second, using mirrors to transfer an image along some length would make the image smaller, smaller as the length grows.

    If you insist on transporting eyes of another person on the image your own reflection, try using optical fibers. Cut the location of the eyes out of the main mirror and insert a bundle of fibers which would travel from one mirror to the other, there is no real limit on distance this way. However the image of the eyes would be somewhat distorted, and probably loose focus. Still I think it would be artistically interesting. You can also use different colors of fibers...

    However, I can also suggest using two inverted periscopes for each eye (made of perspex for instance, which is stronger than mirrors and less expensive) to reflect light from behind the observer. The simplest design would turn the image upside down, but it might be interesting, no?
  11. Aug 28, 2008 #10
    Yeah if it gets too complicated, why not use video instead (might be expensive though)?

    Just out of curiosity, what is the significance behind using mirrors in your artwork?
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