Composed of layers of technical fibres braided and knotted together, the form of 1.26 responds to the light streaming above it and the wind through it, while at night; pulsing alive with projected coloured light. The twin effects of the unplanned breeze and programmed coloured light push against each other, resulting in an ever-changing choreography. The content of the sculpture – like its movements – is open-ended, and allowed to emerge within each viewer. Every person is encouraged to freely form associations and create their independent interpretation of the work.
Its title, 1.26, refers to the length of time in microseconds that the earth’s day was shortened as a result of a single physical event (in this case, datasets derived from the 2010 Chilean earthquake). It is constructed from fibres 15 times stronger than steel by weight in custom colour blends that Janet Echelman combines with light to create the dynamic final sculpture.
As a physical manifestation of interconnectedness, the whole of the net sculpture responds to the movement of any individual part. This interconnection reveals a dramatic contrast at play within the sculpture – that of the seemingly delicate fibres and tremendous scale – a contrast not dissimilar to the soft appearance of the sculpture against the hard verticality of the city. These contrasts beguile and engage the viewer, inviting a moment of contemplation amid the bustle and commotion of daily life.
Lightweight and flexible, 1.26 is designed to travel to cities around the world where it’s an opportunity for individuals to reflect upon the interdependency that we all have with the larger cycles of the planet. First exhibited in the Quartier des Spectacles in 2015, the sculpture has returned every summer as a beloved icon, and has witnessed a profound regeneration of the Jardins Gamelin over the last four years. Originally commissioned for the Biennial of the Americas held in Denver in 2010, it has travelled to cities on five continents, including Amsterdam, Prague, Durham (UK), Singapore, Sydney, Santiago (Chile), Mexico City, Taiwan and Shanghai.