How Did This Artist Freeze An Exploding Boulder?

Unless you're committing life insurance fraud, you'll never get to experience what it's like to be inside an explosion. And maybe that's what inspired sculptor Zhan Wang's My Personal Universe which lets gallery patrons wander through a paused blast.

So how does one accurately recreate an explosion? The 5000+ pieces of stainless steel rock fragments that make up the hanging sculpture were arranged based on an actual detonation. Zhan started by recording an exploding boulder using six strategically placed high-definition video cameras, recording at 2000 frames per second.

The recordings, which are projected onto the walls surrounding the sculpture, were meticulously studied, frame-by-frame, to determine the trajectories of the various pieces of shrapnel. With multiple camera angles to work with, Zhan was able to recreate a single moment of the explosion, shortly after it went kaboom. [Zhan Wang via Witness]


    I just saw this at 798 in Beijing last week! It's a fantastic installation. When you walk in the explosion goes off with a large bang and you feel like you are walking through it as it happened. It can feel disorientating but it's awesome. if you are in Beijing and around the 798 area drop in and check it out. There is also allot of good art work around to see as well.

    Thats cool!

    The fact that they're stainless steel makes this so much more amazing.

    How about using a set of sound navigation radars to detect the objects during the explosion, and using a 3d model to recreate it?

    I'm not sure how accurate it would be, but the concept sounds fair to me.

      "sound navigation radar" is just used as a common term, despite it not being a true "radar" - you know what i mean

      Not sure how that would go considering the massive noise from the explosion a fraction of a second before :)

    That would be SONAR, I guess. (Sound Navigation and Ranging)

      Oh, i know what it is, i was just commenting on the efficiency of that over analyzing the trajectory of each individual piece from a high-framerate recording.

      Perhaps they could've used that, instead?

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