Fiber artist Janet Echelman has once again transformed an urban space with her monumental installations. The American artist's installation, titled Earthtime 1.26, was suspended over Munich's historic Odeonsplatz. Presented by Mercedes Benz, it hovered over the square for nearly two months. Weighing 700 pounds, the net covered an area of nearly 3,500 square feet and constantly changed color and shape.
The work is part of Echelman's Earthtime series, which aims to show the interconnectedness between humans and nature. The net itself included over 360,000 knots and was modeled on scientific data. Specifically, the form references a 2010 earthquake in Chile and the shape of the ocean's surface following this incident. The 1.26 in the installation's title refers to the fact that this incident sped up the Earth's rotation and shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds.
As the net moved with the wind and was battered by the elements, it continually changed its shape. Always bendable, but never breakable, it became a metaphor for how humans react to forces beyond their control. The viewing of the net was a hypnotic, if not meditative, experience, inviting the viewer to break from their daily routine and soak in the art.
“My artwork reflects an interconnectedness of opposites—flexibility with strength, earth with sky, things we can control with the forces beyond us,” Echelman shares. “I invite viewers to pause beneath my sculpture for a moment to contemplate our interconnectedness with each other and our planet, and to become aware of our own sensory experience.”
The work, which went on view as part of Mercedes-Benz's appearance at IAA MOBILITY 2021, completely transformed from day to night. As darkness fell over the square, multi-colored LED lights once again changed the floating form. Moving through different shades of pink, purple, and blue, the rotating lights highlighted different areas of the monumental installation and provided new ways to experience the artwork.