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Chromed Brass Cylinder · Materials · Mat Collishaw

Harlow’s Monkey

In a 1950’s experiment in behavioural Psychology, a baby monkey was given the choice of two, artificial, surrogate mothers to cling to. The experiment was to determine whether the baby would prefer an uncomfortable surrogate made of steel wire with a bottle of warm milk, or a comfortable surrogate wrapped in terrycloth with no milk.

Collishaw made a cylinder anomorphosis using the pictures from this experiment. The anamorphosis requires a distortion of the image that is only viewed clearly when corrected by the cylinder. In a similar way, Harlow’s experiment depended on a perversion of reality to provide him with a clear picture.