Fugitive Topography: Cityscapes in Jell-O

 

I cast elaborate scale models of urban landmarks out of Jell-O, light them from below and bring them to life with photography and video. The molded shapes of the city blur into a jewel-like mosaic of luminous color and volume. Remade in an unexpected material, seemingly permanent architectural structures are transformed into something precarious and ephemeral. Their fragility quickly becomes a metaphor for the transitory nature of human artifacts. 

I drew the inspiration for this project from my immediate surroundings in San Francisco, where the geological uncertainties of the landscape evoke uncanny parallels with the gelatinous material. Since beginning the series, I have been inspired by other urban and suburban sites with metaphorical possibilities, including the White House, Las Vegas and New York City.

I construct my own vision of these locations with props and backdrops as if they were small movie sets. I make the landscapes by constructing small balsa wood or foam core models of the architectural elements, which I then use to cast silicone molds. I also develop site-specific Jell-O installations that introduce the viewer to a more physical experience involving smell, movement and the desire to taste. Because the sculptures decay over time, the photographs and videos remain as the only record of their existence.

© 2018 by Liz Hickok

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