Looking Skyward for Optimism

"As If It Were Already Here" sculpture for Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway by Janet Echelman
“As If It Were Already Here” sculpture for Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway by Janet Echelman

Making sculpture to visually knit together the fabric of the city Janet Echelman’s art is made by hand-splicing rope and knotting polyester twine into an interconnected mesh with more than a half-million nodes. Monumental in scale and strength, yet delicate as lace, her sculpture responds to ever-changing wind and weather. The sculpture is completely soft and constructed from highly technical fibers that are 15 times stronger than steel yet incredibly lightweight and resilient. By day the artwork blends with the sky. At night colored lighting transforms the work into a floating, luminous beacon.

Night shot of "As If It Were Already Here" sculpture by Janet Echelman
Night shot of “As If It Were Already Here” sculpture by Janet Echelman

The artwork incorporates dynamic light elements which reflect the changing effects of wind. Sensors around the installation register fiber movement and tension and direct the color of the lights projected onto the sculpture’s surface.

Asked to express the spirit of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work and mission in a sculpture, and to create a heart for their new global campus in downtown Seattle, Janet Echelman created “Impatient Optimist.”

“Impatient Optimist” Seattle, 2015 by Janet Echelman
“Impatient Optimist” Seattle, 2015 by Janet Echelman
Night shot of "Impatient Optimist", Seattle 2015. Sculpture by Janet Echelman
Night shot of “Impatient Optimist”, Seattle 2015. Sculpture by Janet Echelman

“1.26” is a travelling sculpture about the interconnectedness of our world. It has been installed in 5 cities and 4 continents. Originally commissioned in 2010 for Denver, CO it then traveled to Sydney Australia in 2011, then in Amsterdam in 2013 and on to Singapore in 2014. Shown below in Montreal.

"1.26" sculpture by Janet Echelman
“1.26” sculpture by Janet Echelman

It takes a crew of construction workers and structural engineers plus the cooperation of host city to install one of Echelman’s creations.   Here’s a time-lapse video of the Boston installation:”

Boston installation rising above the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Boston installation rising above the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

 

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