artist max mulhern leaves floating dice to chance artist max mulhern leaves floating dice to chance
jan 14, 2013

artist max mulhern leaves floating dice to chance

max mulhern launches two brightly colored die out to sea in honor of good luck for his project aqua-dice



dice – they are considered one of the most compelling symbols of dumb luck, and american artist max mulhern decided to explore this with his project ‘aqua dice‘ –the ‘greatest floating craps game on earth’. two large, brightly colored die have been launched in international waters to create a visual ode to chance and good luck. each die was specially created by by a french naval architect –  composed of 8 watertight compartments each of which inhabits a corner of the die, these areas are held together by 6 panels – one of which is positioned on a face of each die. the cubes are specifically designed to be unsteady and will travel and tumble in response to the current.


the blocks are fabricated by a shipbuilder skilled in fishing boats – each one composed of plywood, pine, PVC and epoxy. in late 2012, mulhern had them shipped from brittany to the canary islands, and, at noon on the fortuitous date of 12/12/12, he set them afloat into the atlantic, and has left them to chance. to keep track of the artwork, technology students in normandy custom-built his GPS systems which have sent out locations of the die once a day so the progress can be recorded by anybody interested. both dice were about 1,100 miles west of the canary islands and only about 60 miles apart as of the 7th of january, 2012 – scientists predict the two floating objects will separate quickly.


however, the work is illegal because it is forbidden to put leave an object on the water unattended. mulhern notes the high visibility of the die, they’re behaviour to follow the same current as any nearby vessels, and also their collapsible nature on impact render them safe on sea. mulhern anticipates reports of sightings along the atlantic throught the artwork’s travels – and, of course, some help from lady luck.



each die was specially created by by a french naval architect



both dice were about 1,100 miles west of the canary islands and only about 60 miles apart as of the 7th of january, 2012 – scientists predict the two floating objects will separate quickly



the cubes are specifically designed to be unsteady and will travel and tumble in response to the current



 an image from mulhern’s blog showing the progress of the die


  • I love this. It’s just out there, somewhere is the vast expanse of the ocean. Very cool idea.

    justin says:
  • there’s a dozen singlehanded sailors racing up that way;
    hope lady luck deals no one a nasty shock.

    nicey says:
  • Absolutely love this idea- a thoroughly thought-provoking and intriguing project.

    helski says:
  • looks cool, ultimately more garbage in the ocean

    fred rehak says:
  • Haven’t we dumped enough crap in the oceans already?

    Quinn says:
  • I get the idea but am annoyed that there is now more unnecessary crap floating on our precious oceans.

    beble says:
  • Roxy Music 1972, Chance Meeting? If there is something?

    lenl says:
  • That’s just what we need. More junk in the sea. Wonder what happens when some small boat runs into one of these things in the middle of the night ?
    What a very, very stupid thing to do ! Not only illegal but stupid !

    Lille says:
  • Not only is what Mr. Mulhern done in violation of numerous national and international maritime laws but it is also careless and quite irresponsible.

    Mr Mulhern would do well to realize that while it may be possible to glean the location of these large plywood cubes via the internet while on land there is no such thing as internet service while at sea. Therefore the very people who have been endangered by these things cannot know where they are. Also he would do well to know that there are no street lights at sea. At sea, at night, it gets not just dark but pitch black. And since there things are not lighted ( another illegality ) they become almost impossible to see after dark.

    The bow ( front ) of my own sailing vessel ( which I’ve made numerous offshore passages in ) is just under 4 feet above the water. These things are 12 feet tall. That’s are 3 times as high at the front of my boat ! I have no doubt that should a boat such as mine collide with one of these dice the boat would be badly , possibly catastrophically, damaged. I wonder if Mr. Mulhern would take responsibility for such damage. They are after all his dice.

    Dice are often used in gambling. It’s obvious that Mr. Mulhern has used these dice to gamble with the welfare of others.

    I would suggest that Mr. Mulhern would do well to find some other means of expressing his artistic abilities ( ? ) that doesn’t put other people at risk.

    Mr. Mulhern has purposely and deliberately broken the law and endangered the safety and the very lives of others.
    I believe that he should be held accountable for such a reckless and irresponsible act.


    Baba says:
  • Stupid thing, unsafe, polluting, senseless, useless, ugly. This is not art at all, it’s crap!

    c.terra says:
  • Good to see people freaking out about his art

    Alemedo says:
  • Imagine this scenario: a small boat runs into one of these dice during a storm and is damaged. The sailors abandon ship into their orange life raft. Search and rescue is called into action, they spot what appears to be a life raft and focus their energy on reaching it. After many hours at considerable risk to the helicopter pilots they realize that they have the wrong target. Meanwhile the stranded sailors lose precious rescue time and succumb to their possible injuries. Sound crazy? Hopefully it is. But I can’t say for certain that it won’t happen. Can the artist?

    Julia says:
  • For Aqua Dice to promote such contempt, paranoia, and distrust… not to mention the litigious mindset of certain individuals… probably Americans eh? (just a little jab to our neighbors to the south – so settle down) was a surprise. But I do like that it provoked some preposterous (read: moronic) thinking though. The chances of anyone hitting these dice are probably ??? You guess your chances (ha-ha). Art is subjective and personal I get it but come on people get a grip. Aqua Dice rocks!

    rocking the boat,
    ps. Btw we have mariners in our set… we say, you’d have to be pretty lame at your craft as a mariner if you actually hit one of these things, especially if you’re aware of their existence and their approximate location. Haven’t you heard of pre-planning your trip? Only if we were LUCKY enough to spot one of these pieces on our voyages.

    R says:

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