New and Otherworldly Forms of Sandcastles by Matthew Kaliner
Harvard University lecturer Matthew Kaliner creates otherworldly beach sculptures that are unlike any other sandcastles we’ve seen. Rather than stacking up architectural structures or realistic figures, the artist designs surreal, curving compositions of sand that are suspended in midair. “I am motivated entirely by the sheer joy of playing on the beach, and making something out of what I can find that day,” Kaliner told The Atlantic. The sculptor is particularly drawn to building pieces that have a gothic feel to them. They eccentrically protrude from the beach’s flat surface to form intriguing spikes and archways.
While his sandcastles may look as though they’re hovering all on their own, Kaliner actually produces them with built-in supports. “Although I enjoy watching the castles get swept away, I aim to make make my castles more resilient to waves by using sticks, anchored by elaborate braces I dig underground,” the sand architect explained. “Watching the castle rising above the waves is a real treat—and that’s always when they look best.”
The artist also pays close attention to how others perceive his work. “There is a spatial aspect to making castles that’s always intrigued me,” said the creative. “True to the sociology of culture, I have discovered that I get a very different reaction depending on where I make my castles. There is a line of research in sociology that shows that how we interpret or engage with art—especially novel art—often splits on class lines, and for a while I cooked up an idea that I would make these weird sandcastles all over the country to see how this dynamic played out on different beaches.” While he isn’t 100% convinced that this would make a good research project, Kaliner still plans on making his shore-based castles wherever and whenever he can.