Philip Knodle

The Artistic Work of Philip Knodle

Ocular Link

“Ocular Link” is a combination kinetic sculpture and VR experience. It consists of a stereomicroscope mounting on a moving platform. The eyepieces of the microscope have been replaced with cameras and a video feed is relayed to a VR headset. This way, a camera and VR display stand in where a viewer would usually place their eyes.

To view the piece, an attendant first leads the viewer to a chair that, while next to the installation, is partitioned off by a curtain. The attendant then helps the viewer put on the VR headset. Then, once the viewer has a physical separation from the installation, the attendant will press a button on the sculpture to start the kinetic motion cycle.

The motion cycle moves the stereomicroscope so that different objects move into and out of the field of view that is shown on the VR headset. These objects are arranged so that objects with different forms are shown. The first objects are seeds and seeds pods, followed by bismuth crystals, and then followed by steel gauge blocks used for measurements. After these the field of view moves to a printed circuit board (PCB) used in computer construction. While the PCB is the final object shown, its display is not the end of the motion cycle.

After showing the PCB, the moving platform toggles a switch which triggers a changes the VR headset; the video display changes to a computer generated scene. In this way, the viewer sees a progression a natural and organic form (seeds), to a natural and geometric form (crystals), to a man-made and geometric form (gauge blocks), then to a man-made and digital object (PCBs), and then finally to a abstract and completely digital object (the computer generated display).