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Mirages Of The Mind

BY: Sana Panjwani
The Museum of Illusions opened recently in Dubai and features more than eighty exhibits that will alter your sense of reality. Oasis Living checked it out
We all love to be faced with a puzzle and put our mental prowess to the test. Now, instead of scouring online for brainteasers, people in the UAE can go to a museum specifically dedicated to tricking you – the Museum of Illusions in Dubai.

Magic or mystery?

Chances are you've come across several optical illusions in your lifetime, be it a fun classroom activity or just a trending article shared by a friend. For those unaware, an illusion is simply that which distorts your senses, making you believe you see one thing when in fact it's something else altogether.

Even if you understand that what you see isn't real, your brain still makes certain assumptions during its perception and paints a different image. At times, the assumptions can even affect your movement.

One of the best examples you'll find of this phenomenon in the Museum of Illusions is at the Vortex Tunnel. It consists of walking across a straight ramp within a darkened corridor where the walls feature a colourful rotating cylinder. When you step inside though, your balance is immediately thrown as your brain translates the rotation to mean that the floor itself is moving. Despite knowing the walkway is still, you'll find yourself fumbling towards the exit.

This is just one of over eighty exhibits featured in the biggest branch of the Museum of Illusions yet. Among smaller displays like the Müller-Lyer illusion and the Grid illusion, there are larger installations like the Clone Table where you find yourself dealing hands with yourself; the Hollow Faces where Einstein(s) makes an appearance; True Mirror which intersperses your features with another person's and Head on the Platter which doesn't really need a description.

There are many more captivating exhibitions which are worth the surprise.

All in your head

“Museum of Illusions Dubai brings together the respective fields of science, mathematics, biology and psychology to create a truly sensory experience that defies logic,” said Dr Mohammed Al Wahaibi, owner of the Museum of Illusions Dubai.

“Our exhibits rekindle childhood memories among adults and bestow a sense of wonder in children. The museum is an interactive and visual concept unlike anything else in Dubai that is perfect for all ages to enjoy,” he added.

Unlike more traditional museums, visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibits where helpful plaques are also installed offering directions and explanations. Tour guides are also available for a structured walkthrough.

“The human brain is an incredibly complex computer that perceives and interprets reality through an elaborate process of gathering information from each of our senses," said Varvara Svischeva, manager of the Museum of Illusions Dubai.

"When engaging with our illusions, the mind will combine some details and exclude others to create a sensory experience that defies logic. It’s always incredible seeing the universal human response to Museum of Illusions exhibits – it’s the same reactions all over the world,” she added.

At the time of publishing, there was talk of a full-time magician to be brought on board as well to entertain visitors with mind-boggling tricks. Visitors can also pop into the museum's gift shop to grab a Dilemma Game (puzzle) or other souvenirs. A dedicated playroom is also on-site to interact with some of the puzzles as well.

Museum of Illusions Dubai is the ninth permanent branch, with a dozen more openings slated for 2018 alone. The first Museum of Illusions opened in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in 2015.
 

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