Over the last couple weeks, I've tried a number of different materials, hoping to find something that I can build my concept into in a way that I can significantly develop on next quarter. Unfortunately, there have been more dead-ends than progress in this search. Over the last couple weeks I tried a transparent planar array, as indicated in a previous post, and more recently I tried working with wires (with an eye toward eventually implementing via electroluminescent wire to work in a automated temporal aspect).
The topographical cross-sections planar array idea (ala David Spriggs) seems to work much better for solid objects, particularly large blurry ones with little detail. Not so much for typography I discovered. Wires? Low gauge was too fragile on a large scale, higher gauge was rigid but nearly impossible to make nice looking joins with. Giant wire snappers and bruised thumbs are evidence of a lack of precision and delicacy in the product.
Tonight I'm working with some vinyl caps lettering I bought and some 3/32" thin matte black graphic tape. I'll use the transparent acetate sheets I have rather than paper, but I'm not sure yet how I want to layer them. Probably best to just dive in and see if it begins to looks promising or not.
That said, further updates coming soon.