Edutainment as business: how the Museum of Illusions questions our assumptions of the world around us

Seeing is not necessarily believing, as illustrated by the amazing installations at the Museum of Illusions. The brain is coded to perceive our world in ways that can be tricked, confused and manipulated.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 365 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an illusion hides more than a million, according to the Museum of Illusions in Kuala Lumpur’s bustling Bukit Bintang neighbourhood. The photographs, installations and specially-designed rooms are designed to puzzle, confuse and educate visitors of all ages.

In addition to the usual Rubin vase and drawings of parallel lines distorting the lengths of arrows, there are holograms (one has the image of Einstein), optical illusions, and static images that seem to have moving components. There is also a large kaleidoscope for two viewers to observe each other, and cleverly-placed mirrors that create the illusion of a head on a platter.

Ask yourself why some of the images showcased below puzzle us so much. For example, why does the gray circle disappear when you stare at the central black dot? Why does the colour of a word's letters interfere with the meaning of the word, thus making it hard to read?

Other cunningly-juxtaposed objects and angled floors create the Chair illusion, Tilted room, and Anti-gravity room. The Vortex Tunnel, impossible to capture in a photo or video, requires visitors to cross a stable walkway within a rotating cylinder, without grabbing the handrails for balance. The Infinity Room with mirrors on all sides literally sets your horizons free.

A range of dilemma games, mathematical puzzles and brain teasers are also on sale to continue the edutainment long after the visit. The museum arranges magicians on demand for special occasions and corporate events as well.

Collectively, the exhibits playfully remind us that the world around us is full of illusions and diverse perspectives, and the worlds of logic and contradiction often collide. It’s not just the human brain that can deceive us or trip us up, but the environment and context of what we perceive.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, question your assumptions, and reboot your world?

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