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Norman McLaren

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Drawing by Norman McLaren of a four-dimensional house.
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© NFB
 

Four-Dimensional House. - N.d. - Drawing : pen and ink : 26 x 20 cm

Drawing by Norman McLaren of a four-dimensional house. As the accompanying text explains, adding a fourth dimension can lead to some amusing contradictions. Norman McLaren drew inspiration from the tesseract (four-dimensional cube) to design many things, both large and small.

To the left of the drawing is a text that reads:
LEGEND :
I go in the west door; you go in the east one.
I walk down the corridor & go into the second room on the right on the ground floor; you go up one flight & take first room on the left.
We find ourselves in the same room, the one with the window pane.
(you are one floor higher than me but we are also in the same room; are we therefore also on the same floor??)
For you, the bottom right hand pane is broken; for me top most right one.
(for you are standing at right angles to me).
If you had not been able to see my side of entry to the house, nor I yours, you would maintain it was a 3-storey house, while I would argue it was a 2-storey building; we are of course both correct. Only a knowledge of the additional dimension on both our parts would solve an apparently insolvable contradiction!

At the foot of the drawing there is a note that reads:
Isometric Projection
Four Dimensional House