Is M.C. Escher Work Safe?

That portion of MC Escher’s work that has people in it is perhaps not the best choice of art to hang in the corporate corridors. The mood of the place and the workers’ attitudes to the company cannot help but be shaped by this. Let’s take a quick look at just two pictures which decorate the walls of my current place of employment.

 

M.C. Escher - Ascending and Descending

M.C. Escher - Ascending and Descending

This image represents endless effort with no possibility of reaching a goal or conclusion. No matter how fast you run, you never get to the end of the staircase and you’re forced to change direction all the time. You can’t even turn around and return to your starting point. You cannot stop to check your bearings as you’ll just get in the way of other hamsters on the treadmill. You are trapped. There is no escape. There is only a disturbing sense that you’ve been here before. And worse, some people are just standing around watching you, only barely amused by your struggle.

 

M.C. Escher - Relativity

M.C. Escher - Relativity

Lack of communication is made manifest in this drawing. Everyone is content to do their own thing. Each person is acting perpendicual to every other person. No one is working toward a common goal. In fact, given the structual separation between everyone, no common goal is even possible. Some people sit on the outside looking in. Some are skiving off reading. Some (project managers, of course) have skipped out for lunch with vendors and are unlikely to be seen again today. Even when you meet someone on the stairs, you are travelling not only different directions but different planes of existence.

At least they pay well.