Making A Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopes scarves

Juan M. Vallet - Making A Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes inject symmetry into any image. Symmetry is inherent beauty. Real kaleidoscopes unfold an image using a mirrored polygon running alongside the barrel. The unfolded image is then collected back together by a lens placed after the mirrors. This can be repeated only a couple of times due to the loss of light caused by the length of the kaleidoscope versus its width.  

Our digital kaleidoscopes are very similar to the real ones. An initial image is unfolded and rotated multiple times allowing the emergence of new patterns and a superstructure. Each unfolding of the image increases its size and each rotation creates a new point of view. The kaleidoscopes are not drawn or organized rationally, they emerge serendipitously from the geometry of the image and the actions. The only limitation with  a digital kaleidoscope is the size and dimensions of the resulting image.

The following image shows the transitions from an image of rose petals to a finished kaleidoscope. Each transition consisted of unfolding the image horizontally and vertically and then rotating it. The angle of rotation will change the results and is analogous to the shape of the polygon inside a real kaleidoscope.

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