A Set Of Impossible Stairs In A New York University
This video shows an unbelievable set of stairs. Designed by architect Rafael Nelson Aboganda for the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, it defies commonly-held beliefs about how the world should work. Incredibly, even some of the RIT students were not aware of this architectural feat hidden modestly within Building 7.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW BEFORE READING THE FOLLOWING SECTION.
We will be giving away the "trick" behind the stairwell.
Are you sufficiently baffled? Some of you may be screaming "hoax," while some may be impressed at what a creative mind can accomplish. The truth is that there is indeed a very creative mind behind the "Escherian Stairwell," but it is not the architect. The mastermind is RIT film student Michael Lacanilao. In videos posted to his YouTube channel, he recounts how he no longer is struck with awe and wonder while watching a film as he once was as a child. Wanting to give that feeling to an audience, he set out to create a myth.
Accounting for the skepticism in the modern audience, the execution of his plan was masterful. The segment below was purposely filmed to look like a segment of a 20 year old documentary. Like many videos on YouTube, he made the preceding segments of the show seem to have been lost to the internet by adding "Part 3" to the title. Parts 1 and 2 do not exist. He even went so far as to create an online biography of the architect, who, it would seem, has done little since building this marvel in the 1960s. Anybody doing a cursory internet search would find just enough corroborations of the story to believe the myth. It was so believable, this and other copies of this video continue to be shared by people believing the myth to be true.
Lacanilao's ingenious project is more than an interesting film idea. It raises some questions about how we process information. Epistemology, a branch of philosophy that examines knowledge, breaks down the source of knowledge into 5 categories: Perception - what we taste, touch, smell, hear, see; Introspection - what we can know of ourselves such as hunger or thirst; Memory - the things we learn from first hand experience; Reason - the things we can conclude with logic alone; and Testimony - what we learn from others.
Testimony, which includes knowledge gained from books, carries more weight with the more authority we assign the source. Had he made a video of college students showing off the stairwell, it likely would have raised more suspicion from you than in this format. Because of the strength of his appeal to your perceptions and your willingness to believe the host's testimony, you might have been willing to toss aside what you knew from memory and reason- that these stairs are a physical impossibility.
After watching this thoroughly impressive work, SF Globe now asks you, "Do you believe everything you see on the internet?" I was certainly fooled by this. It was my research into how the staircase was possible that eventually lead me to Lacanilao's channel and the full explanation. What about you? As more and more people look to the internet to do research and gather information, do you have any tips to avoid tricks like this one? Please share them with the rest of the SF Globe readers.