#5 - Karascope

Scopes: Karascope / Karascope 2

Artist: Judith Karelitz

Distributed By: Karascope by Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City / Karascope 2 by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC

Reason for this Rating: This is a fun scope due to the spiral (1-mirror) mirror system and the use of polarized objects which create vivid colors.  This scope has a patented design.

Year: Karascope - 1978 / Karascope 2 - 1981

Dimensions: Both are 11 1/8 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter.  The Karascope has a 3 inch tall object cell and the Karascope 2 has a 5 inch tall object cell.

Interior Image: Spiral (1-Mirror) Mirror System.

Objects: Polarized (birefringent) materials.

Other: Both scopes came with storage tubes (Karascope's is red & Karascope 2's is yellow).  Collectors value these containers also.

Artist Judith Karelitz said this on the inside tube of the original Karascope:

"The Karascope creates an optical fantasy in a tube by polarizing, refracting and reflecting light. There is no colored glass in the Karascope, only the spectral colors of light itself.

Ordinary white light which vibrates in all directions is polarized along one plane when it passes through the base of the tube. The light then enters clear colorless pieces of birefringent material and is reorganized by the eyepiece to produce the startling colors that you see. The patterns, unlike those in a kaleidoscope, are asymmetrical.

Hold the Karascope toward the light, rotate the base, and the image changes. A twist of the eyepiece alters the colors of the image and causes the pattern to swirl to or from the eye. The spectrum also shifts as the Karascope is pointed toward different light sources."

Below photo shows the Karascope's storage tube, the Karascope 2 and the Karascope (in that order).

Below photos show the scopes.  The Karascope 2 wording2 says "Karascope 2" twice.  Notice that both scopes are the same externally except that the rotating end is longer on the Karascope 2.


Below photos show an image from the Karascope (top) and Karascope 2 (bottom).

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