Liquid or Solid

January 6, 2010

In one of the meetings we discussed some pieces of an artist who melted down materials. If you take a quick glance at the objects it seems as if they are flowing. But in fact they are solid again.

Plastic spillage

This phenomenon accurse in more situations. I have an object in my room which is the excess material from a injection molding process. This excess plastic (PP) is ejected from the machine without the mold in place. The material falls onto the surfaces below and solidifies there. In this case the material fell on a flat surface like a box, and then flowed onto another flat surface some distance lower. Resulting in two visible planes in the solidified object.

It  looks like the material is moving, flowing and that there should be some kind of invisible surface below the shelf’s surface.


When I thought where these phenomena are found elsewhere the first thing that popped into my head was candles. Candle wax is liquid when hot and solid when cooled down again. Therefore after burning up some candles the most interesting forms remain on the chandelier.

The shapes look like a photograph of a moving spectacle, like the wax is still falling or dripping. Two example pictures are shown.


The movement you think you see in the examples below is exactly what happens in a waterfall. Liquid material subjected to the gravitational forces searching the fastest way down.  I stumbled upon some pictures of frozen waterfalls. In a way exactly the same thing has happened as with the plastic and the candle wax, but because you would expect water to be liquid it is extra remarkable to see it hanging still in the air. This is the case on the picture on the right. This picture below is a partly frozen waterfall, you can see how small the differences between the water and the ice are.

Tree Resin

Another example of this frozen movement is Tree resin. This material is actually moving, but at such a slow rate you do not notice it. But the shapes it makes do seem to be moving.

Molten cheese art

The artist Cosimo Cavallaro uses molten cheese to cover different object. He has covered clothes, furniture and even complete rooms and houses with molten cheese.

I could not find what his intention is doing this. But I see the same phenomenon in it as the examples above. Especially the jacket seems to be reshaping and moving because of the cheese.


I want to use the ‘appearing liquid’ impression described above. Because the effect doesn’t last that long, after a while you notice the material is solid and not liquid, I think the impression should be made quickly. One of the quickest emotions we can have is a scare. So I want to combine the ‘solid appearing liquid’ effect with a quick scare of the observer.

My idea is to have a wall off which a frozen waterfall hangs into a room. The waterfall must look like a great mass of water is rushing towards you at once. The room will be dark until enough people gather. Than at once bright lights will shine through the ice mass, and the sound of rushing masses of water will be played. The effect I expect is that most people will think water is rushing towards them for a moment. When they notice the water is still they will be interested in how it is possible.

Best Regards,



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