Perspectives: Making Visible the Invisible




by Dr Dennis Ang



The use of lenticular was first demonstrated by Gaspar Antoine de Bois-Clair, a French clergyman, artist and author. The double portrait painted in 1962 depicts the parents of Frederik IV of Denmark, Christan V and Charlotte Amalie. Viewed from the front, the viewer is presented with a disorderly mix of facial features but when viewed from the left or right, the more coherent portraints of a gentleman and lady become apparent.

This creative work was made possible with the use triangular wooden slats with cuts angled at 60 degrees. With one side of the triangular slat pressed against the backing of the painting, Gaspard was able to paint two distinct images on the remaining two surfaces of each slat. As the viewer moved in front of the painting, parts of the painting get occluded (Masia, Wetzstein, Didyk & Gutierrez, 2013) presenting the viewer a different image depending on their position relative to the painting.

Since then, a variety of lenticular lenses have been developed to achieve an illusion of depth, or to create works that appear to shift or move. Such technology has improved our quality of life. For example, lenticular lenses can be used as corrective lenses that improves one's vision. Another interesting application of lenticular technology is in making the visible less visible. This "invisibility cloak" uses lenticular lenses to bend light such that what is behind the lenses seems to disappear.

This poem, Perspectives: Making visible the invisible, pays tribute to Gaspar Antoine de Bois-Clair, and the possibilities that such creative pursuits have allowed in both the arts and sciences. The work presents a digital representation of a lenticular surface, providing the reader with a different stanza depending on the angle of the digital surface. The piece explores the idea of perpectives and making less visibles perceptual experiences more apparent, inviting readers to consider the beauty, impacts, and possibilities of the arts and sciences.

 NAF programme title:

 Tak Lurus by NUS Dance Blast! with College of Design and Engineering


Masia, B., Wetzstein, G., Didyk, P., & Gutierrez, D. (2013). A survey on computational displays: Pushing the boundaries of optics, computation, and perception. Computers & Graphics, 37(8), 1012-1038.