Design, Fall 2014, Instructor: Nicholas Evans-Cato

Anamorphic Project (2014)

A sculpture involving an optical illusion spanning five floors.


Timeline: 1 Week

Create an anamorph, in which your work is understandable from only one angle/viewpoint. Hence, the work may appear distorted from other points of view.


1. The piece must be surrounded by a border, either a circle or a square, that appears to be perfect and measures exactly 12 inches in diameter.

2. You may not use electronic screens or mirrors. You may use tape only if it is for a purely structural purpose and is not visible to the viewer.

3. It may be located either in the classroom or in a location 10 minutes from the classroom.


I decided to create a piece that was located outside of the constraints of the classroom, choosing the 5-story staircase of my residence hall as my installation site. I used annealed steel as a structural base for which to build each individual plane and as a means of attaching each plane to the stairwell. Other materials that I used included saran wrap, which defined the border of my anamorph, tape, as well as newspaper. My 12 inch by 12 inch square that framed my piece was created out of annealed steel and caution tape.

In my piece, depression was the main subject. To view my project from the correct angle, the viewer had to climb 5 flights of stairs, passing different planes along the way. his buildup of planes represented the buildup of depression – how it is developed and accumulated over time. Oftentimes, this disease is not realized by those surrounding depressed individuals until it is widely recognized after a major incident, such as suicide, which is often reported in the media. At the correct viewpoint, the viewer can see that the collective planes form a silhouette of a person. This silhouette was meant to imitate that of chalk-outlined individuals at crime scenes, hence the caution tape. I intended to push the scale of my piece, and the resulting height further added a sense of vertigo to my piece as the viewer was forced to look down and over the stairwell in order to view it from the correct angle.