1.26 (230 foot long sculpture suspended from the roof of the Denver Art Museum), Janet Echelman -
Echelman drew inspiration from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s announcement that the February 2010 Chile earthquake shortened the length of the earth’s day by 1.26 microseconds by slightly redistributing the earth’s mass. Exploring further, Echelman drew on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) simulation of the earthquake’s ensuing tsunami, using the 3-dimensional form of the tsunami’s amplitude rippling across the Pacific as the basis for her sculptural form.
I began this drawing by recording the dates of the ten largest earthquakes and wars in the United States. I also recorded and included other pertinent information such as duration, location, severity, etc. The upper and lower stripes or bars correspond to the dates of the quakes and wars – the lengths of the stripes equal the dates (i.e. 1994 = 1 inch, 9 inches, etc.). I also developed a system to determine the color of each stripe. After I drew the stripes, I looked for patterns in the actual dates and the space(s) left between the sets of stripes. As with other works, I tried to look for similarities, an interconnectedness – principles or systems that may guide seemingly disparate phenomena. I tried various ways to create a form that would link the sets of bars and I eventually arrived at the organic central shape. To do this I measured from the end of each bar a distance based on the duration of the wars and the size of the quakes (translated into centimeters), and connected the resulting points. I thought of this process as a phase transition, in which one system is transformed into another.