Discovery through distortion

compound eye

Discovery through distortion

Published: June 25, 2015

A new art installation in Discovery Hall aims to inspire students to solve problems by presenting a variety of new perspectives. (Click on the photo gallery below to see the work).

man looking through compound eye That’s the vision of artist Dan Corson, whose work entitled Compound Sight now hangs in the collaboratory on the second floor of Discovery Hall. The project title Compound Sight refers to insect eyes where a variety of lenses make up a “compound eye.”

compound eye lens “I love the idea of the collaborator as a co-lab, with students from different disciplines smashed up in the same place,” Corson says. He says the piece reflects the idea of “turning your vision upside down to solve problems.” The artwork faces north towards Mobius Hall; the view constantly changes as one moves around the piece.

design of compound eye The artwork – six months in the making – is composed of five laminated, tempered clear glass panels. Each panel has a series of glass and acrylic lenses laminated onto the glass. There are three types of lenses represented in the project; the Plano-convex lens, hemispheric lens and the Fresnel lens.

fibonacci echoes The pattern represented is that of the Fibonacci sequence (a series of numbers where a number is found by adding up the two numbers before it). This pattern is widely seen in many natural patterns including spiral galaxies, hurricane, the chambered nautilus and many other forms of nature. In Discovery Hall, the sequence is represented in the architecture of Discovery Hall and the light array on the Plaza.

Corson is also the creator of the Fibonacci Echoes paver light work in the Plaza.

Both works were funded by ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission. Mike Sweeney of ArtsWA was the project manager on the effort.

Learn more about Corson’s art at