Desert Breath – Sand Art On A Grand Scale

May 13, 2014
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Near the coast of the Red Sea and thick within Sahara desert is a spiraling landmark known as Desert Breath. Given its impressive size and seemingly perfect symmetry, it would not be too irrational to think it was placed there by alien visitors.

But typically, when something on this planet seems alien, it just means that an incredible design team was behind it. The same can be said for Desert Breath. Seventeen years ago, the D.A.ST. Arteam, including Danae Stratou (the installation artist), Alexandra Stratou (the industrial designer and architect), and Stella Constantides (the architect) ventured into the desert to create art on an epic scale. Though erosion is inevitable and has altered their work over the years, the site still looks remarkably similar to how it did upon completion. The slow deterioration has been said to be “an instrument to measure the passage of time”, and gives life and movement to an otherwise static work of art.

A favorite of those who like to seek out geographical oddities seen from space on Google Earth and other satellite maps, the Desert Breath installation is a wonder to behold. The environmental art installation is grand in both scale and vision. The construction was a massive undertaking in terms of excavation and geometry.

Constructed as two interlocking spirals that gradually increase in size—one has 89 conical depressions while the other features 89 vertical cones (made from the sand excavated from the depressions) in the desert floor—designers created Desert Breath by displacing over 280,000 square feet of sand and constructing a lake at its center. Not immune from climatic patterns and change, in recent Google Maps images, the lake seems to have evaporated. The construction of Desert Breath was sponsored in kind by the Egyptian Orascom development company.

The D.A.S.T. Arteam states that:

“The project is rooted in our common desire to work in the desert. In our mind’s eye the desert was a place where one experiences infinity. We were addressing the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind. The point of departure was the conical form, the natural formation of the sand as a material.

Desert Breath expands in an area of 100,000 square meters, in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt. It is a site-specific work that generated out of our perception of the site itself. Its construction consists of the displacement of 8.000 m3 of sand formed so as to create precise positive and negative conical volumes. The conical volumes form two interlocking spirals that move out from a common centre with a phase difference of 180o degrees in the same direction of rotation. The centre is a 30-metre diameter vessel formed in a W-shaped section and filled with water to its rim.

Located between the sea and a body of mountains at the point where the immensity of the sea meets the immensity of the desert, the work functions on two different levels in terms of viewpoint: from above as a visual image, and from the ground, walking the spiral pathway, a physical experience.”

Relaying Desert Breath’s significance in another way, artist Danae Stratou says “I imagine two parallel realities in the way that we view the world. There is the world inside and the world outside of us. It is through the senses that we are able to connect the inside to the outside world. My whole life, including the choice to become an artist, has been an attempt to re-search, to understand, and to connect these two parallel realities. To bridge what is within to what is without…”

To view Desert Breath in all its glory on Google Earth, go to coordinates: 27°22’54.59″N, 33°37’48.46″E.


Via All That Is Interesting: Desert Breath – Sand Art On A Grand Scale

Watch As A Gas Tank Transforms Into A Cathedral Of Light

May 10, 2014
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Thanks to German creative studio Urban Screen, what once was a gas tank quickly became a colossal light projection. The tank, whose area is approximately 20,000 square meters, served as the host of “320 Licht”, their latest project.


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Anthill Art Creations And The Complexity of Ant Colonies

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Bottom View of Anthill Art

Source: Anthill Art

What do you get when you mix molten aluminum and ant colonies? Seriously cool anthill art. Each of the following silver molds represents the actual tunnels, spires and passages of a real-life ant colony. And we discovered two mind-bending videos that uncover the bizarre yet intriguing process.

Up Close Aluminum Anthill Art

Source: Anthill Art

Molten Aluminum Ant Art

Source: YouTube

To create an anthill art mold, the artist pours silver molten aluminum into the top of the anthill. This process is pretty incredible in and of itself, as the aluminum pools and flows like an otherworldly substance. Eventually, the aluminum cools and hardens, and the real work begins. The artist must excavate the aluminum casting from the ground, a process that requires digging surprisingly deep into the earth.

Check out this video of the artist creating a carpenter ant colony mold:

Fire Ant Colony Mold

Source: Anthill Art

Anthill Art From Carpenter Ant Colony

Source: Anthill Art

Aluminum Mold of Carpenter Ant Colony

Source: Anthill Art

Like an archaeologist dusting a fossil, the artist then cleans the aluminum mass, finally revealing the anthill’s intricate composition. The finished project is a true-to-life replica of the old colony. These art creations weigh anywhere from two to twenty pounds, and can stand between ten inches and three feet tall. The colonies’ variations reflect the differences in ant species, primarily between fire ants and carpenter ants.

Squiggly Carpenter Ant Art

Source: Anthill Art

Aerial View of Ant Colony

Source: Anthill Art

Of course, the aluminum artistic process has prompted outrage among some individuals from animal activist communities. These critics claim the entire process is barbaric, likening it to an anthill torture chamber and asking, “What if I poured aluminum in your house.” While the process undeniably extinguishes the ant species, these insects are considered pests in many communities, and are often removed and killed. Although these ant colony molds are sold as artistic creations, they can also help scientists gain a deeper understanding of ant life and organization.

This video shows the artist making a fire ant colony cast:

Fire Ant Aluminum Colony

Source: Anthill Art


Via All That Is Interesting: Anthill Art Creations And The Complexity of Ant Colonies