Water flows downward. Everyone knows that. Aqueducts, rivers, plumbing—all of it flows downward.
But what if it didn’t?
What if the laws of physics were bent? What if, instead of flowing down, water flowed up?
Well, that’s precisely the kind of world M.C. Escher envisioned when he authored what many consider to be one the greatest visual mind benders of all time, Waterfall. In the image seen below, water appears to flow from the base of the aqueduct, upwards, until it reaches the top of the waterfall; once there, gravity takes over (finally), and the water begins flowing downward. This breed of visual paradox is Escher’s hallmark. With tweaks in perspective and perception, he engenders paradoxical worlds where up is down and down is up. Genius.
Let us not forget, however, that Escher’s work exists on a 2D plane. Brilliant though it may be, what happens when his work transcends the page and enters the real world? Can Escher’s Waterfall exist on a 3 dimensional plane, where logic and physics supersede an artist’s sleight of hand?
The short answer: no.
Through a special confluence of camera angles, lighting, and perspective, however, we can get close. Watch the video below and see if you can answer the $64,000 question: how is it done?