Gallery: Liz Hickok Builds Amazing Architectural Models Out of Jell-O


INHABITAT: Any chance you use organic Jell-O? Or have any other green/eco strategies to your work?

Liz Hickok: As far as I know organic Jell-O is not very common, and it would be hard to purchase in the bulk quantities that I need. I could use agar agar, but it doesn’t have the same flexible quality or translucence as traditional gelatin or Jell-O. I’ve recently been using a new material called Gel Wax, which is meant for candle making (it is not edible). One advantage of the Gel Wax if that I can cast it and then re-melt unlimited times. Plus, similar to gelatin, it creates beautiful, trembling buildings. I’ve been particularly excited by my recent discovery of flexible LED ribbon lights. Now I want to incorporate them into everything I do!

Hickok has recreated various parts of San Francisco including famous landmarks like City Hall, the Bay Bridge, the Ferry Building, parts of the Mission and even a whole skyline as seen from Alcatraz. She’s also built the White House and created a video in reverse showing it evolve from fully decomposed back into its original state of glory. Her recent model of NYC includes the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and much more. Wiggly, jiggly and oh so sweet, Hickok’s Jell-O architecture is only temporary and lasts until the tasty treat dissolves, leaving not a trace behind except her photos and videos. Talk about leaving no impact! Read on to find out more about her inspiration and methods.

INHABITAT: What is your inspiration for constructing buildings out of Jell-O?

Liz Hickok: I drew the inspiration for this project from my immediate surroundings – 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. 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.


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