The Art of Science: Altered States

One of the most fun and rewarding ways that artists can play with science is by exploring transitions between states of matter in their materials.  Solid rocks can be turned into liquid paints, spread on paper or canvas and dried to a solid again.  That paint can be formed into droplets and sprayed at walls. Wax is melted down for encaustic and formed again stronger than before. And humble silica pellets can be liquified and then poured into molds or blown through tubes to make marvelous, airy forms in glass.

Artist Fernando Laposse decided to try making “glass” out of sugar and food dye, using the same basic techniques as glass-casting but knowing that, because of sugar’s chemical structure, it wouldn’t be durable like silica-based glass. He molded drinking glasses out of melted sugar and filled them with alcohol, which caused them to dissolve slowly as people drank from them. As he notes, “Once the alcohol is consumed, the object devolves into a lollipop, turning the concoction into a more infantile experience.”

The video of the dissolving glasses is hypnotically beautiful, even if the end result might be a bit sticky.

More information and a video of the casting process are at Laposse’s website

Author: michelebanks1

Artist and blogger

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