A suspended sea of delicate silver strands ripples high over Los Angeles’ Pershing Square. This eye-catching kinetic sculpture casts moving shadows over those who walk underneath. Called Liquid Shard, the installation, which is made out of holographic mylar and monofilament, moves and sways with the wind.
Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics put together the 15,000 square feet of silver streamers required to complete the kinetic sculpture and hung it up above the square. It quickly became a hit, mesmerizing downtown residents, office workers and tourists alike. Not only that, but it’s also spawning thousands of posts on social media — including this one.
The Liquid Shard is part of an on-going effort by the city of Los Angeles to support public art displays. In fact, representatives from the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department and Now Art LA, originally approached Patrick 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.”
Patrick 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 3D computer modelling to assess how the structure would hang and move in the square. They then worked to construct their kinetic sculpture design from material that Patrick had previously spent weeks putting together.
Patrick specialized 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. And the inspiration for Liquid Shart came from exploring scientific principles and revealing natural beauty.
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 since struggled to find words for the installation, comparing it to everything from a silver cloud to a dragon to a school of sardines.