About The Diatrope Institute

The Diatrope Institute was founded in 2002 to disseminate information and engage in research exploring art, science, technology and cognitive neuroscience. Diatrope Press and the Diatrope Bookstore were added shortly after the institute was formed. We are proud of our long track record.

The name Diatrope (di·at´· ro·pe) was chosen to convey the institute’s interest in the idea of transformation. Diatrope [dia + tropos] signifies the idea of heading through to the next opportunity.

The logo, designed by Christopher Tyler in 2002, is a combination of the classic Kanizsa triangle and the impossible triangle illusion. The Kanizsa triangle, named after the psychologist Gaetano Kanizsa is comprised of three black circles with equal wedges cut out of them facing the center point and three black angles on a white background. Many observers see a white triangle on top of three black disks and an outline triangle. The white triangle appears brighter than the white background and shows a contour even in regions where there is no luminance change in the image.

The impossible triangle illusion was first created by the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd in 1934 and developed independently by the mathematician Roger Penrose in the 1950s. In addition, the artist M. C. Escher used it in works such as the lithograph Waterfall, first printed in October, 1961.

Tyler explains the design used for the Diatrope logo as follows:

Begin with a three-line figure resembling three chopsticks arranged in a triangle. Each part of the object makes sense on its own, but they cannot integrate into a single coherent object because each corner wants to be in front of the other two – a profound 3D spatial intransitivity characteristic of the classic Penrose impossible triangle. The perceived 3D figure generated in this way is simultaneously both illusory and impossible.”