Neri Oxman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Subterrain, from the Materialecology project 2007

  • Not on view

"The main idea promoted by this project," Oxman says, “is our ability not only to analyze natural (and biological) tissues but to reconstruct them in larger scales.” Three microscale biological tissues (a leaf section, a butterfly wing, and a scorpion paw) were reconstructed using a digital protocol. The tissues were closely analyzed and then reconstructed in three-dimensional macroscale prototypes out of wood, through the use of a very fine mill controlled by a computer.

Gallery label from Design and the Elastic Mind, February 24–May 12, 2008.
Coded FEA, Rhinoceros, and Generative Components software; CNC milled laminated oak and cherry wood
.a (leaf section): 20 x 20 x 2 1/4" (50.8 x 50.8 x 5.7 cm) .b (scorpion paw): 20 x 20 x 2 1/4" (50.8 x 50.8 x 5.7 cm) .c (butterfly wing): 20 x 20 x 2 1/4" (50.8 x 50.8 x 5.7 cm)
Model maker
RPM's Machining
Gift of The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art
Object number
© 2023 Neri Oxman
Architecture and Design

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].