Israeli-American artist Daniel Rozin defies the laws of technology again with new robotic “mirrors” at bitforms gallery in New York. Like his exhibition featured here two years ago, Rozin uses objects as physical pixels, each moving on an individual motor to “reflect” whatever stands in front of them. The result is a low-resolution, non-digital video screen made of objects.
Photographs don’t do the magic of these high-tech artworks justice, so enjoy a video of each artwork after the still images.
In PomPom Mirror above, Rozin uses 928 “faux fur pom poms” that push in front or behind each other to create a high-contrast, black and white image of the viewer. The expansion of the “pixels” feels like ink soaking through the back of a paper towel.
Below, Penguins Mirror contains 450 plush toys that rotate 360 degrees to cast your shadow with their white bellies. Step away from either sculpture for a moment, and they will enter a sort-of “screen saver” mode that’s equally entrancing.
I’ve been viewing Rozin’s work for nearly 10 years now, watching a progression from wood, to rust, and now fuzz. These new softer sculptures hit me differently – and not just because of the material. These new works are significantly slower/delayed than early works with far lower “resolution”. My immediate thought was that he was moving backwards, losing the magic of instant and accurate reflection. Standing in front of them however, I found myself interacting with them differently and seeing more. The delay encouraged me to stand motionless for a second, waiting to be captured and watching the process as much as the result. Though no more than 1 or 2 seconds delayed, I suddenly felt like I was sitting for a portrait at a time when cameras took hours to capture a sitter and when taking a “selfie” was an event and a privilege in itself.
The show also contains a couple of fully digital works that “reflect” you on flat-screen monitors. Sketching you slowly with strange algorithms of charcoal-esque lines, these require you to stand motionless for about 8 seconds, or simply play with the abstraction of your own movement.
Daniel Rozin’s works look at you as much as you look at them. They don’t simply capture your movement, they affect and modify it. If you’re in New York, go experience these in person. And I hate to say it, but bring your iPhone, because these make for some amazing selfies.
All Photographs courtesy bitforms gallery, New York. Photographed by John Berens.