Made by Nazli

The goal of this project is to learn about the illusion Blivet, and how it is used in life.

Created: October 18th, 2015



  More commonly called "Devil's Fork", "Impossible fork" or "The Mad Poiuyt" in everyday language, Blivet is a fork like structure that seems like it has 2 arms at the part where everything connects, and when looked at the ends, it looks like 3 arms. It is under the category of optical illusion and impossible object.

How it works is that at the part where all the arms are connected, which I will call the top part, the object divides into two and extra lines are used for making it look more 3 dimensional. Then, when looking at the part with 3 arms, the total of six lines make 3 arms, which I will call the end part. Since the object divides into two at the top part, and ends up with 3 arms at the bottom part, it is an impossible object.  It does not relate to motion, however, it relates to perception since it looks like it must be real but it can not be.


Examples in the world

There are not many examples in the world since Blivet does not actually exist. However, the word "Blivet" has been used as a code name for many things: "...the US army used the world blivet as slang in World War II to refer to "ten pounds of manure inside a five pound bag." In practical terms, it referred to an untenable situation, a crucial but substandard or damaged tool, or a self-important person. In the air force, a blivet refers to a special weapon whose existence cannot be officially confirmed or denied. Among computer programmers, a blivet refers to any embarrassing glitch that pops up during a customer demonstration." So even though blivet does not exist and can never exist, it is referred to in very different areas.


Examples in Media/Art

Blivet became famous when it was featured in a humor magazine MAD, on the cover page on March 1965. It has been featured many times since then. An artist called M. C. Escher is an artist that has used Blivet's in his works a lot. Escher likes putting impossible objects in his work, such as the impossible stairs, the stairs that don't have a start or end, and seems to be looping. Since Blivet is also an impossible object, it fits well for the style of the artist. He is especially known for using Blivets in his woodcut prints. Also, an optical designer and artist called Roger Hayward has written an essay about the interpretations of the Blivet. He included this blivet, called Hayward's undecidable monument, to the world:



I've seen Blivet before in many places, but when I started this project, I didn't know what it was called, what it was used for or how it worked. This project helped me learn all of these. If I was an artist, I feel like I would want to be an artist like Escher. I would want my art to show impossible objects. Blivet is especially a confusing one since it is actually very basic. There is motion and there aren't many lines and colors that confuse, there are only six vertical lines, and the illusion is done with only these six lines. I also feel like many things with symbolism could be done with Blivet, messages could be send saying "It looks like two, but it's actually three". I feel like an artwork of a blivet that started with the top part, with one arm black and the other one white, and the end part with white, black and a colored middle arm would give the message "You thought it was only white and black, but there are colors in between". That is probably what I would do if I were to do an art about blivets.



  Smith, Eddie J., Rev. Dr. "Halloween, Hallowed Is Thy Name." Google Books. WestBow Press, 2012. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.  

  "Blivet." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 June 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.  

  Dean, James. "Blivet (Devil's Fork) Illusion Collection." Mighty Optical Illusions RSS. 21 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.  

"RogerHaywardUndecidable Monument" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Share this Project


The goal of this project is to learn about the illusion Blivet, and how it is used in life.