ARTS & CULTURE
08/26/2013 02:30 pm ET

Nope, This Magical Balancing Sofa Is Not An Optical Illusion. It's Art.

We know what you're thinking. Oh, a magical balancing sofa, I've seen this optical illusion before. But you are wrong. This is no trick. This is art.

In the installation "Balance From Within," artist Jacob Tonski, perches an antique, 170-year-old sofa on one leg in a remarkable feat of furniture ballet. Although it looks like a trick of the eye, the balancing act was achieved using a handy piece of technology we'd never heard of called a reaction wheel.

The tech-savvy folks at Gizmodo explained a reaction wheel as "a motor-driven flywheel that is constantly spinning. When the speed of the wheel is altered, the craft responds by counter-rotating around its center of mass." It's mostly used in satellites and spacecraft to adjust orientations in space, but we're honestly partial to Tonski's unconventional use.

In case you were worried, no vintage sofas were harmed in the making of this piece. Tonski used magnets to assemble his incredibly poised couch, so on the off chance the sofa did fall over it would remain unharmed and could be easily re-assembled.

"Balance comes from within," Tonski said of the piece. "It’s a delicate act, and sometimes we fall down. 'Balance from Within' is a meditation on the nature of human relations, and the things we build to support them." The piece was recently on view at the 2013 FILE festival in Brazil.

Is your mind blown? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We'll leave you with one more image for the road.

vimeo

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