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New exhibition will trick your senses and blow your mind

NPDC’s Puke Ariki’s new exhibition will trick your senses and blow your mind

Prepare to question your own eyes, test your senses and have your mind boggled at NPDC’s Puke Ariki’s new exhibition, Illusion: Nothing Is As It Seems.

Illusion, which opens in the Temporary Exhibitions Gallery on 10 November, is a perception-shattering insight into the human mind, playfully combining the techniques used by magicians and explored by psychologists.

Puke Ariki will be Illusion’s one and only stop in New Zealand.

With more than 19 exhibits designed to blow the mind and featuring a host of installations that deceive the eyes of the visitor, Illusionshows that what we perceive is often radically different from the reality of what our eyes observe.

“We want to challenge perception, boggle the minds of visitors and inspire some future scientists,” says Puke Ariki Manager, Kelvin Day.

“People are fascinated by illusions because they challenge everything we take for granted on a daily basis, they have the power to distort what we see and trick our minds. Prepare to be delighted, bewildered and surprised when you step into the exhibition and experience just how warped our perceptions can be.”

Illusion was curated by psychologist, author and magician Richard Wiseman, and was researched by deception artist Paul Gleeson, who is also the world’s youngest professional escapologist.

"Magic is an inspiring force for learning. I have worked with Science Gallery to create an exhibition that will inspire and educate people of any age,” says Mr Wiseman.

“Each piece in the show deceives the brain with either an optical, perceptual or audio illusion. Illusions give us a greater appreciation of how we view the world and this exhibition brings us closer to understanding the magic of the mind."

Some of the mind-bending illusions at the exhibition include:

All the Universe is Full of the Lives of Perfect Creatures features a mirror where visitors get to see their inner animal.

Delicate Boundaries creates a space that allows the worlds inside our digital devices to move into the physical realm as bugs crawl off the screen and onto visitors’ bodies.

Counter, using a trompe l’oeil art effect, tries to convince visitors that a two dimensional object is actually in three dimensions.

The exhibition, which runs until 5 March next year, comes as Puke Ariki celebrates a record-breaking year for exhibitions with Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs attracting a new record total of 75,000 visitors.

Illusion is created by Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, part of the Global Science Gallery Network.

Puke Ariki fact file

It first opened on 15 June 2003.

The total number of visitors to Puke Ariki and district libraries in the 2016/17 year was 809,036.

In that same period, Puke Ariki and community libraries issued 792,563 items.

It is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre.

Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Gallery of Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regularly.

The temporary exhibition space shows touring exhibitions that are either curated in-house or brought in from other museums.

Te Pua Wānanga o Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre is also housed at the site.

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