Undulating Art Installation Made Up of Publicly Sourced Images Takes Over the Las Vegas Sphere

Art Installation at the Sphere in Las Vegas by Refik Anadol

Photo: courtesy of Refik Anadol Studio

After stunning the world with its spectacular Fourth of July display, the Las Vegas Sphere has opened itself to art installations. The first creative to step up to the plate and utilize the expansive 580,000-square-foot display is Turkish artist Refik Anadol. He took over the venue with an installation titled Machine Hallucinations: Sphere, which features a mesmerizing animation using publicly sourced images and computer algorithms.

The installation includes two rotating pieces, which follow each other in a pattern while changing colors, shapes, and rhythms. One version is made up of over a million satellite images from NASA and the International Space Station, while the other features 300 million images of flora and fauna from national parks, and weather data gathered in the Las Vegas area. These displays appear to capture the way people interact with an increasingly fast-paced digital world.

Watching these works come alive in undulating motions across a larger-than-life screen is unlike most public art out there. Anadol embraces the immersive experience of the Sphere with his artworks. “To me, it’s questioning reality,” he says. “[It’s] this incredible architectural form in public urban space and this incredible art form. We’re used to canvas and sculpture and paintings and video, but this time, the whole building is a canvas—and not one with corners. It’s challenging our perceptions. It’s a really powerful statement and experiment reinterpreting the limits of our understanding of what is a canvas.”

Although Anadol is no stranger to digital art, the scope of the Sphere—which is the largest LED screen in the world—required him to take on a different approach than in his previous projects. Based out of LA, he and his 16-person team worked together to make it work. “We used similar AI research, but it required a very unique approach because every visual is matching the complex surface and engineering requirements of the Exosphere,” he says. “It’s so cutting edge, the canvas is extraordinary. It was a really beautiful challenge.” And the end result is simply stunning. The bright globe screen of the Sphere illuminates the night sky and invites anyone who sees it to take a dip in Anadol's “alternative realities.”

Machine Hallucinations: Sphere will be on view at the Las Vegas Sphere until December 31, 2023.

Turkish artist Refik Anadol takes over the Las Vegas Sphere with his latest installation Machine Hallucinations: Sphere.

Art Installation at the Sphere in Las Vegas by Refik Anadol

Photo: courtesy of Refik Anadol Studio

Using millions of publicly sourced images, the animation moves across the orbicular canvas in mesmerizing ways.

Art Installation at the Sphere in Las Vegas by Refik Anadol

Photo: courtesy of Refik Anadol Studio

Machine Hallucinations will run until December 31, 2023.

Art Installation at the Sphere in Las Vegas by Refik Anadol

Photo: courtesy of Refik Anadol Studio

Watch Anadol's installation in motion:


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Refik Anadol: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Refik Anadol Studio.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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