This is an older piece but it blew my mind when I first saw it. It’s by Daniel Rosen and is called “Wooden Mirror.” It’s the first mechanical mirror he built, although the concept for all are fairly similar. He uses a digital camera to capture a live image and, in this case, converts it to angles for each of the 835 blocks of wood in the mirror. There are bright lights directly overhead to create the contrast between a block angled up and a block angled down. Each wooden block is essentially a pixel, although severely down-sampled from the digital image from the camera.
Video courtesy The Open University
It’s such a visceral feeling to stand in front of a bunch of wooden blocks and see them suddenly become alive. And not only alive, but displaying your own face in a somewhat abstract way. We’re so accustomed to wooden blocks doing nothing that there is a bit of dissonance in seeing them so alive. It’s a really innovative idea and marries new technology with an old medium in a very beautiful and elegant way.