Melting Sculpture Illusion by Takeshi Murata

May 28th, 2014 | Space


Takeshi Murata recently created this magical melting sphere called the “Melter 3-D”, which was on display in a darkened room at the Ratio 3 gallery as part of the Frieze Art Fair. If you’re unfamiliar… the Frieze Art Fair is one of the biggest contemporary art fairs in the world and takes place in Randall’s Island, Manhattan every year.

But back to this piece of art! How does it work? The “Melter 3-D” is a a zoetrope, a pre-cinematic device that creates an illusion of motion from the rapid succession of static pictures. This 3D version implements a stroboscope, which essentially means that flashing lights are used in to illuminate the sculpture at the appropriate times to create an illusion of movement.


This brings us to one problem with the practicality of this piece of art, discussed by one viewer after seeing the otherworldly sculpture first-hand:

“I saw it at the Frieze, and it was one of my favorite pieces on exhibition. The downside was that the effect requires multiple strobe lights to work. Trust me when I say that you would not want to be the person next to it for more than a few minutes. After about 30 seconds, most people (myself included) seemed to begin experiencing headaches.”

Nonetheless, the illusion is a sight to behold, and I’d happily experience the headache to see this masterpiece in action. Apparently, Murata spent months configuring the design on a computer and then worked with high-quality manufacturing engineers (who had previously worked on Hollywood CGI projects) to create the final product, an alien orb sent here to entertain Earth. What an incredible creation!


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