You look down into the darkened box and you see a "movie" of the world in front of you projected onto a screen. Either punch small holes in aluminum foil pasted in front of a larger hole and see the world dimly. Or, take away the foil and use a magnifying glass and make the image much brighter!
This could be made with boxes and foam and magnifying glasses.
Also, there are artists who literally make a dark room. Preferably an apartment with a great view. Cover all the windows except for a small hole in one of them. Then set up a camera inside the room to take a long time exposure of the walls. Absolutely mesmerizing!