Volume 11: Illusion (Fall 2016)

Fall 2016 THEME: Illusion

Illusions are nearly always defined in contrast with reality. They are seen as deceptive, misleading, and impossible within the agreed-upon construction of the objective, physical world. But perhaps reality itself is unstable, subjective, illusory. There is a certain magic in suspending disbelief and an innate curiosity that drives us to see through smoke and mirrors. Illusions operate on multiple planes and on our various senses — from taste to touch to time — and drive us to interrogate our own perceptions of what is or isn’t real.



From optical illusions to everyday misconceptions, our minds encounter illusion on a daily basis. How do we differentiate illusion from reality, if we are able to at all? Mindsets, hallucinations, emotions, memories, experiences, dreams – all of these can contain or consist of illusions. How is our perception of reality distorted by illusion? How can illusions affect our actions, beliefs, and lifestyles? Sometimes our minds create illusions in order to protect us from certain truths or realities – is this helpful or detrimental to maintaining an open-minded perspective? Are illusions inherently good or bad, or somewhere in between?

Wonderland by Dara Feller

V. by Hannah Teves

Beautifully Innocent by Nicole Karrmann

Broken World by Ashley Musick*

They Say She Kisses Southern Strangers by Nicole Mclendon

Unwanted Sermon by Seth Yund**

Sinner by Avery Cardosi*


Illusion and body are closely tied together, as issues such as body image and representation of body in the media are prevalent in our society today. What misconceptions might the illusions presented through media about body type or image engender? How might we as individuals deceive ourselves when it comes to our own physicality or form? We also encourage you to consider illusions within or regarding the body in conditions such as phantom-limb syndrome or body dysmorphic disorder. What other types of physical illusions exist in our society, and do these illusions have a positive or negative impact?

Chaos by Nicole Karrmann

Not a Real Girl by Pippa Russell

The “Natural” Sexes by Seth Yund**

Illusions: Mind, Body, History; ?Invalid: And, However, Peace: Gender Poem Pt 2: Illusions? by Kyler Asato


Death has always been one of the primary mysteries of the unknown and theories surrounding it  have existed for millennia. But what is the relation between life and death? Is death simply a logical next step after life, and if so, is the notion of death as an “end game” an illusion unto itself? How can our different beliefs on death affect our living actions? How does belief factor into our view of death and on that token, how do views on death differentiate between different beliefs and cultures? How do accounts of near-death experiences and supernatural phenomena influence our understanding of death? And does the way we represent death as a society and in the media affect our perception of it?

Liar’s Springtime by Avery Cardosi*

Water by Callan Keeter

Wilting by Nicole Karrmann

In Return For A  Favor by Pippa Russell


Whether the notion comes from science-fiction works or philosophical pieces on human condition, postmodernist thought has often suggested that time, or at least a straight, linear version of time, may be an illusion. Is this true, and if so, how does time operate in our universe? And if we operate under the assumption that time may well be set, how does this affect our ideas of free will or destiny? How do we view time in a scientific sense and how does that affect our common understanding of it? If we consider time to be set and the only true moment to be the present, how will it affect us as a society?

When Time Stood Still by Nicole Karrmann

L’illusion Crépusculaire by Madeline Barrett

Love, Mary by Maithu Koppolu*

Nature of Existence by Ryan Gold


Space can be expressed as both an agent and a product of illusion. An optical illusion subverts the mind’s expectations of “objective” reality to create false impressions of depth, continuity, color, and motion within a given space (or in its absence, i.e. negative space). These can be man-made, such as in magic shows, or, in the case of mirages, a natural phenomenon.  Additionally, the constructs surrounding space and its occupants are inherently illusory. We conceive on an intuitive level the “boundaries” of personal and social space, which themselves, are culturally mediated across space. How do we reconcile, explore, create, or negate these illusions? Is there even such a thing as “space”, or are its properties a construct that we collectively agree on?

Using Logic to Make Infinity by Hannah Nailor**

Do You Remember When You Were Important? by  Christine Anderson

Party Like It’s 1524 by Hanna Rosenheimer

Blind Reality by Helena McGill

Do You See What I See? by Madison Gwinn

On Closing the Door by Grace Zoerner*

Icarus and the Lighthouse by Shannon Annarella*


* denotes Sapere Aude Editor Submission

**denotes Chapman Alumni Submission

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