Experiencing the Droste Effect: “DrosTravel” by Akira Tanaka

What is the Droste Effect?

The Droste effect is an example of mise en abyme, in which a picture appears recursively within itself and creates a looped image.

One example of the Droste effect can be seen in matching mirrors. Have you ever looked in a mirror and seen an endless repetition of your reflection?

In DrosTravel by interaction engineer Akira Tanaka, viewers can experience the Droste effect in three-dimensional AR.

This work is an experience of being caught in a vortex of droste (the recursive repetition of the same image within a frame), using a street TV as a motif. The droste in the two-dimensional plane is as limited as the resolution allows, but what will the endpoint of the endless droste in the three-dimensional space be?

—Via the official NEWVIEW website

Sucked into an Endless Droste Effect

This scene consists of a retro cathode-ray tube (CRT) television, reminiscent of the public TVs during the Showa period. To further enhance this aesthetic, we recommend experiencing the scene outside, in a safe environment.

The knob on the right side of the screen changes the TV channels.

You will find many different channels available on this analog TV. The resolution and quality of the video give it a very nostalgic ambiance. People in the past must have gathered in front of TVs like this one and watched programs on the street together.

As you turn the knob, you encounter a channel showing a TV within a TV, within yet another TV. Warnings appear on the screen, saying “Please step away from the TV” and “It is dangerous if you come any closer.”

Out of curiosity, you continue to peer into the screen.

Suddenly, you are sucked into the Droste vortex! The scene ends with the message “Uh-oh, too late!”

Now that you are inside the CRT television, turning the knob applies filters to the world around you and changes your view, but you cannot return to normal vision. When you press the power button, the screen turns off and goes dark.

*This work is an AR experience to be experienced with a smartphone.
*Please start the device in landscape mode and make objects appear at any position.

—Via the official NEWVIEW website

Experiencing Fear through a Processed World

What is experienced at the end of the Droste vortex was a “processed” world. DrosTravel explores how one’s perception of reality changes when suddenly put inside the screen of a TV, which is usually watched from the safety of outside.

In the modern age, everyone has a camera and takes pictures and videos without hesitation. We upload the processed images to social networking sites with ease, but can we really call the reality that we have been processing with our fingertips real? In this experience, those who approach the site with a smartphone in hand, looking for something unusual, are sucked into the vortex of droste created by themselves, and experience the “fear of being processed. Those who live in the processed reality may one day be abruptly turned off by others.

—Via the official NEWVIEW website

In DrosTravel, Tanaka places viewers in “that reality we are always editing with a single tap of the fingertip.” In the world beyond the Droste vortex, our roles are switched from the one who edits to the one being edited. The “fear of being processed” that we experience in this scene may reflect the fear and anxiety of being deprived of the power to control and edit what we see.

How to Experience an AR Scene

If you are accessing this page from a smartphone, tap the “Try Now” button.
If you are using STYLY for the first time, please also refer to the instructions below.

Try Now

After tapping “Try Now,” you will be redirected to a page like below.
If you have already downloaded the STYLY Mobile app, select “Activate in STYLY app.”

If you are accessing this page from a PC web browser, first click the “Try Now” button to open the scene page.
Then, in the scene page, click “Experience in AR” and scan the QR code with your smartphone to launch the scene on the STYLY Mobile app.


Download the STYLY Mobile app



For those who want to know more about how to experience the scene:
For more information on how to experience AR scenes, please refer to the following article.

Edited by SASAnishiki
Translated by cpnnn