THE BLOG
09/27/2012 03:31 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Short Takes: Kaleidoscopic Wonders

According to Wikipedia, the term "kaleidoscope" was coined in 1817 by its Scottish inventor, Sir David Brewster, while he was performing experiments on light polarization. Brewster arranged for manufacture of his invention, intended as a science tool. The kaleidoscope was an instant hit -- over 200,000 sold in London and Paris in the first three months. After its initial success, Brewster believed he would make money from the kaleidoscope, but unfortunately, a fault in his patent application allowed others to copy his invention.

Today's sophisticated computer imaging allows for endless experimentation with kaleidoscopic effects. In the following clip, Not As It Seems, video segments are manipulated with kaleidoscope and mirror computer effects to create wondrous new worlds.

If you prefer something more low tech, check out this beautiful video by Spanish designer Osman Granda.

This next video is from the American Folk Art Museum. Senior curator Stacy Hollander introduces us to artist Paula Nadelstern's amazingly detailed kaleidoscopic quilt.

It's almost impossible to think about moving images and kaleidoscopic effects without Hollywood movie director and musical choreographer Busby Berkeley's musical extravaganzas coming to mind. I found this wonderful montage of Berkeley choreographed film clips set to the music of Artie Shaw.

What would a blog about kaleidoscopes be without a trip to the world's largest one? If you've ever travelled through the Catskills, you've no doubt seen the signs -- and some of us have even stopped to experience this Woodstock-inspired wonder.

Cross-posted from Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery Blog

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