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FLATLAND-Style Images of Istanbul Take Us to Another Dimension

The Earth might not be flat (yes, yes we do know for certain), but inspired by Edwin Abbott’s book, “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions,” Turkish artist Aydın Büyüktaş decided to make it so. Using a combination of 3D modeling and photography, Büyüktaş managed to to create a fantastical view through Istanbul, as it might have been seen by a square.


A two-dimensional world has no height, that is, there is no “up,” even when that world takes up three-dimensional space.  Think about a piece of paper lying flat on the desk. Now imagine you peel up one corner. The beings walking along your imaginary Flatland now have a curve in their world, but to them, walking “up” it will simply appear as walking forward.

“There are no walls in 2D space,” explains algebraic topology Ph.D. candidate Leanne Merrill. (For the mere mortals among us, topology is the mathematical study of spatial relations). “So going ‘up’ one is not even an option. There is only front/back, left/right. They cannot have a concept of up and down.”

In fact, this holds true no matter what shape you roll the paper into. Look at what happens when ants walk along a Möbius strip, that infinite shape you likely made in grade school:


Now imagine you are the ant, and trace the paper again. It’s that perspective that we’re edging towards in Büyüktaş’ images.


Getting the photos just right was the first hurdle, often delayed by drone-attacking birds and bad weather. “So many times I had to turn back without a picture,” he says. “I had to plan out [each shot] very carefully. I’d create a 3D city to find the camera’s position.”

Desired shots in tow, the images were then warped using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and 3D modeling software, a process that took months to finish. “[You have to] create smooth curves in the photos,” he says. “And thousands of 3D renders. What’s left is the foundation of a dimension where a space of surprises creates a space that creates suprises. We live in places that most of the time doesn’t draw our attention. This is a romantic point of view, where the perceptions that generally cross our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise.”

Check out more of these mind-bending images, and some still from Büyüktaş’ latest series, Parallel Universes, in the gallery below. 

IMAGES: Aydın BüyüktaşJill Britton/YouTube



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