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#attackoftheoptoclones: ‘Magic of Light’ Exhibition Opens on Myasnitskaya

On 10th February the exhibition of light installations, holograms and OptoClones®, ‘Magic of Light’ organised by ITMO University, St Petersburg and the Hellenic Institute of Holography opened to the public at the Saltykov-Chertkov mansion on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa. HSE has contributed some of the works in the exhibition.

Magic of Light is a popular science exhibition intended to reveal the properties of light, to surprise us with optical illusions and open up the fantastical world of OptoClones® - the latest development in holography.

More than two hundred objects from around the world are on display together including ultra realistic OptoClones® of Faberge Eggs, holograms of famous christian relics and ancient icons, Lenticules - video holograms, winners of the Lenticular Print Award, interactive spaces - the Magical Forest, Colourful Shadows, Play of Light; augmented reality technology (Oculus Rift, 3D projection, multimedia kaleidoscopes, rides) and much more.

HSE is presenting several exhibits created by MIEM faculty. Some of them are fractal graphics designs. A fractal (from the latin fractus- broken, smashed) is a self-similar (when an object has the same form as one or more of its parts) mathematical set. Many things in nature are fractal - snowflakes, clouds, tree-tops, blood vessels. Examples of self-similar sets appeared in mathematics in the 19th century as a result of studies of never-ending nondifferential functions and the word ‘fractal’ was coined by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975. 

Fractals became very popular with the development of computer technology, which made it possible to visualise these structures, and fractal graphics has become one of the most fast-growing areas of computer graphics. With computer modelling we can express mathematical equations in astonishing, colourful shapes and forms.

What to expect at the exhibition

There will be fractal 3D cinema with music by Sergei Prokofiev consisting of several changing images - Chinese brain-teaser and sketches for the fantasy films Bashnya, (The Tower), Nashestvie (Invasion), Voina (War), Seraya Planeta (Grey Planet) and Biomorfy (Biomorphs).  And a fractal network column - eight-sided glass structure onto which decorative fractals are projected through a mirror (Mother of Pearl, Birch Spring, Geometry, Kandinsky City, and others).

These works were created by MIEM Professor Nadejda Trubochkina.

MIEM colleagues are also exhibiting their interactive computer installations using the Leap Motion sensor device.

With the sensor device you can give almost any command without touching anything and manipulate objects in virtual reality. In principle the device works by infra-red diodes lighting up the hands and infra-red cameras photograph them hundreds of times and send the images to a programme processor in the controller computer. On the programming level, mathematical algorithms outline the contours of the hands and follow the fingers’ coordinates. This allows you to touch virtual objects as though they were real - for example you can pick a flower or play the drums. 

Sergei Chelnokov’s remarkable stereoscopic photographs of everyday Moscow and major historical events at the turn of the 19th century are also part of the exhibition. The latest technology has been used to make 3D movies of these old photographs. (The MIEM 3D visualisation and computer graphic laboratory are working with the Chelnokov Fund — the fund’s director is Dmitry Novikov, Senior Lecturer at the HSE School of Philosophy  to realise the project). Using new multimedia technology MIEM specialists digitised the slides and negatives to reproduce the full depth of Chelnokov’s stereo images.   

The ‘Magic of Light’ exhibition has opened in the centre of Moscow in the old Saltykov-Chertkov mansion on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa. The cellars will be open to the public for the first time to house a part of the exhibition, and the mysterious atmosphere of the old building will enhance visitors’ impressions of a grand optical illusion.

Exhibition runs until the end of May 2016.