"What was that?"

“What was that?”

“The thing that looks like giant M&M’s” as one writer described it, is called Ellipsoidal Freeway Sculpture, by Australian artist James Angus.  It is located on the Eastlink Freeway, Connect East, Melbourne, adjacent to northbound carriageway, between Wellington Road and Corhanwarrabul Creek.  It is 36m long, 5m tall, and is composed of 24 modular ellipses in white, green and blue, ranging from 1-3 m in diameter.  It is made of painted glass fiber reinforced polymer with a steel frame, and was fabricated by Mouldcam using 5-Axis CNC-milling.

It has apparently generated more than one “What was that?” moment as passersby glimpsed it before it was gone behind them.   Although it seems long  – in the standard units of US measurement, more than 1/3 the length of a football field –  at 110 km/h, you’re only actually passing by it for a bit over 1 second, and perhaps you might see it clearly for a couple of seconds before.

In a brochure about the Eastlink’s freeway art, Angus is quoted thus:

“The sculpture is assembled from ellipsoids to form a chain that runs parallel to the roadway for almost 30 metres. Cast in fibreglass, modules vary in size and shape from between one and three metres in diameter. “My intention is to create a sculpture that is genuinely three-dimensional and maximises the effect of various viewing positions. Shapes will appear to expand and contract. On approach, it will look like a large bundle of spheres. As motorists drive past the sculpture and their perspective changes, it will appear to stretch into a long accumulation of ellipsoids. Each module will be painted in a colour sampled from local flora. The shapes are intended to form a series of lenses for viewing the surrounding landscape. “I’ve drawn on a number of visual sources when developing this sculpture, including the history of perspective, Modernist abstraction, aerodynamics and molecular chemistry.”

Images via art-sheep.com