Amazing Modern Maze: Dystopian Steel Labyrinth Installation

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This steel labyrinth looks like something left behind after the production of a dystopian film, its irregular grid of steel rising and falling onto the concrete surface outside Belgium’s C-mine art center. Designed by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, the maze is an immersive experience in what the artist sees as architecture in its essential form: “a composition of walls that define spaces.” Made of 186 tons of metal, the installation features vertical surfaces towering over 49 feet in the air to properly disorient visitors.

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Entering the maze, you pass through a series of geometric doorways cut into the steel, including a sphere, a cylinder and a cone. Depending on where you are in the maze, these cut-outs might offer a tiny glimpse of what’s on the other side of a wall, or open to reveal a succession of similar cut-outs passing all the way through the installation.

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The steel, and how it is cut and arranged, offers a unique architectural visual that changes according to your perspective, shifting from abstract lines into distinct geometries and sometimes creating optical illusions that make you uncertain whether you’re looking at a two-dimensional or three-dimensional surface.

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A nearby installation of antique mine shafts offers a different way to experience the maze: from above. You can pass through it as an active participant, and then view it as a whole, taking in its complexities from a more detached bird’s eye view.