Mesmerizing kinetic sculpture makes waves over Pershing Square

A suspended sea of delicate silver strands ripples over Pershing Square in Los Angeles. This mesmerizing kinetic sculpture casts moving shadows over those who walk underneath. 

This kinetic sculpture is called Liquid Shard and moves with the wind. This large-scale sculpture is made out of holographic mylar and monofilament. Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics put together the 15,000 square feet of silver streamers and hung it up above the square. The new installation has since become an instant hit, mesmerizing downtown residents, office workers and tourists alike. Not only that, it’s also spawning thousands of posts on social media – including this one. The installation is part of an on-going effort by the city of Los Angeles to support public art displays.

Representatives from the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department and Now Art LA, originally approached Shearn with the idea to create an installation for the park.


“We wanted to have the piece in downtown LA; to showcase it in a space where there are a lot of people gathering. And where it would have a strong architectural and spacial impact,” said Carmen Zella, co-founder of Now Art LA. “Pershing Square was the perfect fit.”

Shearn collaborated with twelve students attending the Architectural Association Visiting School during a 10-day design workshop. The students represented countries from around the globe, including Turkey, Kuwait, Egypt, China and Korea. They used 3-D computer modelling to assess how the structure would hang and move in the square. They then worked to construct their design from material that Shearn had previously spent weeks putting together.


Shearn’s inspiration comes from exploring scientific principles and revealing natural beauty. He specializes in creating larger than life sculptures for Burning Man, Coachella and other popular festivals. His creations have taken the forms of a 36-foot astronaut, a giant butterfly and an enormous snail to name a few.


The Liquid Shard installation is currently scheduled to remain in place until today. But Kevin Regan, Assistant General Manager at the Recreation and Parks Department, has proposed keeping it up longer.

“I would have to say this is one of my favorite installations we’ve done. But I didn’t expect it to blow up on social media like it did,” he said, mentioning that the exhibit has generated thousands of posts on Instagram. “It’s cool that so many people are enjoying it.”


Since its completion, people from around the city headed to Pershing Square to see the kinetic sculpture in action. Visitors have have since struggled to find words for the installation, comparing it to everything from a silver cloud to a dragon to a school of sardines.


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