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The Mechanical Eye Wooden Sculpture





VR World Creation, Sculpture Machining

Tech Involved

​Rhino, Solidworks, 5-Axis Mill, Maya, Python, VR, Motion Tracking

This project is a cumulation of observations, discussions, and critiques throughout the semester in Prof. Dana Karwas’ ARCH 2222 - The Mechanical Eye. It explores the idea of objective representation of a setting, and in extension, its implication towards the interaction between the setting and the occupants. Starting with a log from a cut-down elm tree behind the Yale Undergraduate Art Gallery, the journey consists of 3 main phases: objectivity, setting, and embodiment.

An old elm tree behind the Yale Undergraduate Art Gallery was cut down due to a disease. The project started as a collaboration between YUAG and Center for Collaborative Arts and Media in order to explore the reinterpretation and re-imaging of the cut down tree trunks. We held an auction to choose the tree trunk each person liked.

I chose the most trunk-looking trunk as mine. I then 3D scanned it and uploaded it to Solidworks and Rhino to explore its nature and shape.

I built the virtual reality world exploring different layers and the notion of isovist with tree barks. I wanted to a way to capture the inherent preference of the explorer when looking around a new environment, capturing gaze direction and head position via motion capture.

Using a simple Python script, I separated gaze direction based on left or right section of the world, creating a cone at each point and merging the resulting model in Maya. Then I simplified the shape by reducing it down, exploring with the idea of machine arbitration.


The resulting two sections are milled out using a 5-axis mill, joined by a section of the trunk representing the middle barrier of the VR world. The resulting sculpture is a physical embodiment of every choice the explorer makes, a holistic reinterpretation of his behavior.

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