For anyone who’s ever wondered what they’d look like if they were made out of troll dolls, meet Daniel Rozin.
“A lot of my pieces use light and shadow in order to create pixels,” explains the artist, who’s also an associate professor in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Rozin’s latest obsession is a series he calls “mechanical mirrors,” which cast a viewer’s image on a sort of screen made from various materials like wood, soft pom-poms, and even trash. Each piece is kinetic; a sensor picks up the image of the viewer, and the screen moves to “reflect” the form of the person standing in front.
“As you move, suddenly the piece moves. So then the piece is moving and that captures your eye, and you say ‘Oh my God, this is a kinetic piece. It’s moving. That’s very cool.’ And after maybe a few more seconds, you say ‘Hey, this piece is moving in tandem with me. It’s interactive. I’m actually creating what’s going on there.'”
His first mechanical mirror was made out of wooden tiles, and used 835 motors to rotate the pieces at different angles to change their appearance. It was even featured in WIRED about 20 years ago. That wooden mirror used a camera to observe the viewer and capture the image to be displayed. Rozin’s newer projects use motion and laser sensors to “see” the person standing before the piece.
The interactive element is crucial, according to Rozin. “My pieces are very boring when there’s not a person in front of them,” he explains. “But the minute a person stands in front, it takes your image. I try to think that maybe it takes more than your image, that maybe it’s capturing something about your soul and displaying it back to you.”
See Rozin’s mechanical mirrors and hear much more about his process in the video above.
More Great WIRED Stories