1.78 Helsinki


Earthtime 1.78 Helsinki was installed in Helsinki`s Senate Square for the month of August for the 2021 Helsinki Biennial. Janet Echelman's Earthtime sculpture series heightens our awareness of our interconnectedness with one another and our physical planet. The sculpture serves as a symbol of interconnectedness, composed of countless intertwined fibers. Each time a single knot moves in the wind, the location of every other knot in the sculpture`s surface is changed in an ever unfolding dance of human-made creation with the forces of nature beyond our control. To create the sculptural form, Echelman works with teams both inside and outside her studio. These include architects, designers, and model-makers in the studio, as well as an external team of aeronautical and structural engineers, computer scientists, lighting designers, landscape architects, and a fabrication team. Inside Echelman`s studio, the physical form of Earthtime 1.78 Helsinki was digitally modeled with inspiration from a scientific data set describing a single geological occurrence -- an earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 -- which caused ripple effects around the globe and even sped up the earth's daily rotation. The number in the title refers to a measurement of time, as the earth`s day was shortened by 1.78 microseconds. For this exhibition, Janet collaborated with Finnish sound and light artists throughout the pandemic to create a unique sound and projected light performance. Underwater microphones and tower-top wind sensors generated a data feed that influenced the changing light. The Helsinki Festival commissioned a live music performance underneath as well. Sculpture fabrication begins with braiding custom engineered fibers which are fifteen times stronger than steel by weight. These custom-colored twines are knotted both by loom and by hand, and every rope is spliced using centuries-old craft techniques. Connecting the past with the present, the artwork takes ancient methods to a new urban scale. The Earthtime series is a global traveling project. To date, the 1.78 sculpture has been installed in Madrid, Spain (2018), Dubai, UAE (2018), Beverly Hills, CA (2019), Borås, Sweden (2021), Helsinki, Finland (2021), and Vienna, Austria (2021). Each installation has unique colored lighting designed to speak with its specific architectural and historic context. Courtesy of Studio Echelman.

Installed, 2021


Related Playlist