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A monumental, floating form that pulses with the changing wind and weather, Janet Echelman’s 1.26 sculpture invites you to pause, and contemplate a physical manifestation of interconnectedness of opposites – soft with hard, earth with sky, things we control with the forces beyond us.

The concept of the artwork stems from scientific data sets of the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami, and the notion that we are all connected between the earth’s natural systems.

Studio Echelman generated the 3D form for the sculpture using NASA and NOAA data that measured the effects of the earthquake including tsunami wave heights across the oceanic expanse. The resulting vibrations momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation, shortening the length of the day by 1.26 micro-seconds, which became the catalyst for the 1.26 sculpture.

1.26 was suspended over the River Wear for Lumiere Durham, the UK’s largest light festival, produced by Artichoke. Studio Echelman collaborated with UK-based ArtAV to develop an interactive projection in which viewers control the projected colored lighting onto the aerial netted form.

Participants are invited to interact via their phones, on which they are posed questions whose answers correspond directly to colors that will be projected proportionately onto the sculpture surface floating overhead. The result is a portrait of the collective thoughts of the public beneath, and a rare experience where the physical and virtual become one.

The sculpture is completely soft and constructed from two types of technical fiber, making it lightweight enough to lace directly into existing structures without extra reinforcement. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), a fiber more than 15 times stronger than steel by weight, makes up the structural portion of the artwork. Custom color blends of high-tenacity polyester braided twines make up the remainder of the sculptural net. Echelman combines these with programmed colored light to create the final artwork.

The sculpture has traveled to exhibitions in 7 cities on 4 continents. After its 2010 premiere in Denver, CO it has been shown in public spaces in Sydney, Australia (2011,) Amsterdam (2012-2013,) Singapore (2014,) Montreal (2015,) and Prague (2015.)

Materials and Size

Spectra® Fiber, high-tenacity polyester fiber, and interactive, colored lighting
Dimensions of net: 80 ft. length x 60 ft. width x 30 ft. depth
Installation Dimensions: 240 ft. length x 90 ft. width x 46 ft. height



Art: Janet Echelman
Studio Echelman Project Managers: Melissa Henry, Cameron Chateauneuf
Lighting and Interactivity: ArtAV
Design Engineer: Peter Heppel Associates (Paris)
Festival Production: Artichoke
Photography: Melissa Henry


Millburngate House Durham, UK