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Culture

A mirror made out of ... penguins?!

Artist Daniel Rozin has made an installation of 450 plush penguins that rotate to "reflect" the people who stand in front of it.

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When you gaze long into the penguins, the penguins also gaze into you. bitforms gallery

It may not have quite the precision to help you fix your hair in the morning, but if you could replace your mirror with 450 fluffy toy penguins, wouldn't you at least be tempted?

Artist Daniel Rozin, whose mirror installation "Descent with Modification" is on display at New York's bitforms gallery until July 1, has made exactly that: a low-res mirror out of plush penguin toys that reflects museum visitors as they pose in front of it.

It works a little bit like e-ink. The penguin toys are black on one side and white on the other. Each is mounted on a base that allows the penguin to rotate. A video camera provides a live feed of visual information to a central processing unit, which tells the penguins to rotate in real-time -- reflecting in black and white the outline of the museum visitor.

"Playing with the compositional possibilities of black and white, each penguin turns from side to side and responds to the presence of an audience. As they perform, the penguins' collective intelligence is puzzling, yet somehow familiar, as the plush toys enact a precise choreography rooted in geometry," the bitforms gallery website explains.

The exhibition features six "mirrors" created by the artist, inspired by Charles Darwin's writing on evolutionary biology -- in particular, 1859's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection."

Also, it's really, really cute. Who wouldn't feel a self-esteem boost after looking in a mirror and seeing hundreds of adorable penguins?