This makes my brain hurt!


@genemachine3 sent me this great animated gif – and it makes my brain hurt.  Can you figure it out?



33 comments on “This makes my brain hurt!

  1. Brian Ashton says:

    Great animation, but the lighting is tracking the ‘camera’!

  2. Kathy says:

    I think I’ve been hypnotized. 😉

  3. Steve Jones says:

    I’m not sure there’s any great mystery here. It’s a series of frames that gradually zooms into a perfect copy of the original scene to the point that the last frame in the animated gif is the natural precursor of the very first one. No doubt tricky to achieve, but hardly a mystery.

    It’s even got a name – it’s called the Droste effect.

    • Steve Jones says:

      Should add there’s 50 here – they aren’t generally animated, but it’s easily done by gradually zooming in to the next smaller image down whence you can revert to the first image. Of course doing it with a 3D image and taking an apparent rotation (and apparently hiding the recursive image at one point) is rather more tricky, but the principle is straightforwards

      Of course it’s a Dutch term as there are obvious relationships to MC Escher’s work.

    • Gus Snarp says:

      That’s pretty much what I though, but less technically. Actually, my thought was, “What’s to figure out? Am I missing something?”

  4. John says:

    Droste, schmoste. Lets just call it Fractal Tea.

  5. Haha – I used to make stuff like this with POVRay and 3DSMax to mess with my kids’ heads.

  6. Ron Murphy says:

    Ha! So much for that Greek atomism nonsense. Clearly reality is continuously infinitesimal.

  7. Dably says:


  8. -M- says:

    Nicely done.

    I can make that too. It’s a 3D fractal of a table with objects. Render one generation of the fractal and repeat the sequence.

  9. Lazy T says:

    Tea that stirs itself,,fantastic
    but how do you pick it up?

  10. Paul Pearson says:

    Hmm. Has an Alice in Wonderland quality, teapot and all. Lemme go find those magical mushrooms …

  11. ChumbleSpuzz says:

    My favorite example showing MC Escher’s “Prentententoonstelling”, where they filled in the hole in the middle at the point of recursion and animated it.

    First time I saw this was in grade school, where a classmate had a Muppets lunch box. In the picture on the box, one of the Muppets was holding the same lunchbox, which had a picture…
    Mind was blown. How many people can recall the first time they grasped the concept of infinity?

  12. One Eyed Jack says:

    Coffee table fractal.

  13. Reblogged this on IFOUNDX and commented:
    Wooooaahhhh!!! .. I’m spinning like a tea pot 😛

    I love such loopy gif’s and they sometimes make me (and others also i’m sure) hypnotized.

  14. The other Matt says:

    No animation started…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Too much over thinking going on..
    LOL! Brain spazzing!

  16. jemmyp says:

    that’s amazing! Think it should make an appearance on QI…

  17. Anonymous says:

    great animation but makes dizzy

  18. […] A great animation, courtesy Richard Wiseman […]

  19. Marcus Foreman says:

    After the required number of ‘rotations’, it now gives the final answer what atoms are made of. It is good to prove all those atomic scientists are wrong. All it takes is to look at Richard Wiseman’s ‘Quirky Stuff’. Will you let us know when you are offered your Nobel Prize for Science?

  20. […] pieces of online art on the theme of unlimited zoom [1], […]

  21. Sean says:

    It’s just a fractal

  22. mfinki says:

    Subject to your consideration: when you are invited to a FRACTAL tea with cookies, you’d better arrive early.

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