Liquid Reflections, Series one, 1967

Author: Liliane Lijn

Turning acrylic drum containing water, lamp and acrylic ball.

Acrylic drum containing: water, turntable, projector, amplifier and acrylic balls.

This belongs to a more complex series of works on water and light. Inspired by her interest in astronomy and the physics of light, it is the result of 5 years of experimental work with plastics and fire, acrylic polymers, lenses, prisms, light and finally water.

It is comprised of a hollow acrylic disc containing water and revolving on a motorised turntable. Two acrylic balls rotate on its surface, their motion subject to opposing forces: the centrifugal force of the disc’s spin and the centripetal force due to the concavity of the disc’s surface.

When the water is first poured onto the disc, it condenses into patterns resembling interstellar clouds of gas, but it soon contracts into precise spherical droplets, alive and trembling, which in turn become increasingly uniform, covering the disc’s entire surface. The water on the disc both influences the total balance and is influenced by it, exerting an effect on the movement of the balls.

The movement of the balls on the surface of the disc is governed by the laws of momentum, as well as the centrifugal force and the pull of gravity enabled by the concavity of the disc. The balls also act as moving magnifying glasses, bringing to life one area of the disc after another in a strange lunar landscape of reflections and shadows. Liquid Reflections is Lijn’s attempt to contemplate the universe on an intimate scale.