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1.78 Dubai is the newest work in Janet Echelman’s Earth Time Series, which her team has been working on the for the last eight years. It is the most recent addition to Art Emaar’s new public arts initiative, and will be on exhibition through late July, 2018. That artwork makes its U.A.E. debut against the iconic backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain.

The number “1.78” within the title refers to the number of microseconds that the day was shortened when a single earthquake shifted the planet’s mass, thus speeding up the earth’s rotation of one day. This work examines the complex interaction of the many systems of our physical world with one another.

Echelman’s goal as an artist with this work is to remind us of the many cycles of time at various scales, ranging from a single day to centuries. It reminds us of our complex interconnectedness with larger cycles of time and the systems of our physical world. The sculpture’s materials embody this. When any one element in the sculpture’s network moves, every other element is affected.

Our surroundings affect how we feel and how we experience our lives - we are responsible for the way our cities look and function. These netted works work brings softness to the scale of the city. They are soft counterpoints to the hard edges of buildings, offering proof that we can interrogate the status quo - that the assumption that cities must be formed from hard materials and straight edges can be changed.

“I feel a need to find moments of contemplation in the midst of daily city life,” Echelman said. “If my art can create an opportunity to contemplate the larger cycles of time and remind us to listen to our inner selves, I believe this could be transformative.”

The monumental floating form of 1.78 is composed of layers of fiber, braided and knotted together in vibrant hues that pulse with changing wind and weather to create a choreography of undulating color. At night, the sculpture comes to life with projected colored light. Lightweight and flexible, the sculpture is designed to travel to cities around the world as a physical manifestation of the interconnectedness.

Materials and Size

Fiber, Buildings and Sky combined with Colored Lighting. Fibers are braided with nylon and UHMWPE (Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene)
Dimensions of net: 100 ft. length x 45 ft. width x 20 ft. depth


Art: Janet Echelman
Studio Echelman Team: Melissa Henry, Lillian Rodriguez
Sculpture Engineering: Arup: Clayton Binkley
Simulation Software Engineering: Autodesk
Production and Lighting: Emaar Properties U.A.E.
Photography and Videography:


Dubai Fountain, Dubai, U.A.E.