Undulating wind-activated art installation flies like a flock of birds (Video)

Now Art LA
Video screen capture Now Art LA

Beautiful art has the power to move us, to compel us to pay attention to the bigger picture -- whether that bigger picture is about current events, a moment in time, a place, or the forces of nature. Activated by the movements of the wind and the light of the shining sun, this mesmerizing public art installation in Los Angeles' Pershing Square draws our awareness to the the shifting patterns that are ever-present in nature.


Dubbed Liquid Shard, this enormous installation was created by Los Angeles-based design studio Poetic Kinetics last year, as part of an effort by a local non-profit Now Art LA and Los Angeles' Recreation and Parks Department to bring more art into the city's public spaces.

Poetic Kinetics© Poetic Kinetics

Made with 15,000 square feet holographic mylar and monofilament nets, and designed in two layers that can float from anywhere between 15 feet above the ground to 115 feet in the air, Liquid Shard seems to come alive when the wind passes through, creating a huge rolling, aerial wave that glitters in the light. As artist Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics explains on The LA Times:

I’m inspired by observing nature and this constant feeling that there’s a lot going on that we don’t understand and we aren’t aware of. You feel ripple of wind on your skin, and the scale of it feels small. But when you see this piece, you’re brought to an understanding of bigger motion around you.

Poetic Kinetics© Poetic Kinetics
Poetic Kinetics© Poetic Kinetics

The undulating movement is reminiscent of other natural beauties like the murmurations of starlings in flight, or other wind-powered kinetic installations.

Now Art LANow Art LA/Video screen capture
Now Art LANow Art LA/Video screen capture
Now Art LANow Art LA/Video screen capture

Shearn has created other similar installations, many of them large-scaled, for festivals like Burning Man and Coachella. To construct Liquid Shard, Shearn enlisted the help of twelve international students attending a design workshop at a local architectural school. The freeform structure was created using 3-D computer modeling software, which allowed the team to evaluate how the piece would be hung and how it would move under various weather conditions. The nets were then suspended at optimal points, using bungee cords.

Now Art LANow Art LA/Video screen capture
Poetic Kinetics© Poetic Kinetics

The resulting work completely transformed the otherwise ordinary public space, creating (for a short period of time) a somewhat shaded spot to watch the wind-catching device billow, swell and flutter with every little breath of the wind, making those otherwise invisible currents of air visible. Though the installation is no longer up, you can watch the video above, or see more work from Poetic Kinetics.

Tags: Artists | Arts | Los Angeles

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