Left image: Wooden Mirror 1999
Wood, motors, video camera, computer
70 inches x 60 inches x 6 inches

Right image: Detail of wooden pixels and camera
pixels are 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches.

Daniel Rozin

Wooden Mirror explores the line between analog and digital. In the essence of the piece is the notion of inflicting digital order on a material that is as analog as it gets - wood. I was hoping to take the computational power of a computer and video camera, and seamlessly integrate them into the physicality, warmth and beauty of a wooden mirror. The piece reflects any object or person in front of it by organizing the wooden pieces. It moves fast enough to create live animation. The simple interaction between the viewer and the piece removes any uncertainty regarding its operation, it is a mirror. The non-reflective surfaces of the wood are able to reflect an image thanks to the involvement of the computer that is manipulating them to cast back different amounts of light as they tilt towards or away from the light source.

The image reflected in the mirror is a very minimal one. It is, I believe, the least amount of information required to convey a picture (Less than an icon on a computer and with no color) It is amazing how little information this is for a computer, and yet how much character it can have, (and what an endeavor it is to create it in the physical worldä). The Mirror produces a distinctive sound when something moves in front of it. It is the sound of hundreds of tiny motors. The sound is directly connected to the motion of the person in front of the Mirror and provides a pleasing secondary feedback to the image. All phases of design fabrication and programming were done by Daniel Rozin. All the construction of this piece was done by hand including mechanical connections and wiring. It took 10 months to build the Mirror.