Suspended in public squares and parks, the knotted sculptures that comprise Janet Echelman’s Earthtime series respond to the destructive, overpowering, and uncontrollable forces that impact life on the planet. The artist (previously) braids nylon and polyurethane fibers into striped weavings that loom over passersby and glow with embedded lights after nightfall. With a single gust of air, the amorphous masses billow and contort into new forms. “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,” a statement about the series says.
The outdoor installations are modeled after geological events so catastrophic and powerful that they slightly impact the planet’s rotational speed. Each title refers to the number of seconds shaved off the earth’s day because of that occurrence, with “Earthtime 1.78” referring to Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami and “Earthtime 1.26” speaking to a 2010 tremor in Chile.
Containing innumerable knots and weighing hundreds of pounds, the monumental nets are the product of countless hours and a team of architects, designers, and engineers who interpret scientific data to imagine the original form. Each mesh piece begins in the studio with techniques done by hand and on the loom, and the threads are custom-designed to be fifteen times stronger than steel once intertwined. This allows them to withstand and remain flexible as they’re exposed to the elements, a material component that serves as a metaphorical guide for human existence.
Echelman will exhibit an iteration of “Earthtime 1.26” in Jeddah from December 2021 to April 2022, with another slated to be on view in Amsterdam this winter. You can see more of the prolific artist’s works on her site and Instagram.
Share this story
In his series Base Quantities, London-based photographer Greg White elucidates the abstract and fundamental concepts of physics. His minimal, graphic images document all seven components (i.e. mass, electric current, temperature, length, luminous intensity, amount of substance, and time) of the arbitrarily defined system used in measuring physical properties. Vividly composed, the visuals include a radiant electric current flowing in a coil, the tonal spectrum of thermodynamic temperature, and a trio of illuminated beams conveying length.
White tells Colossal that the series was born out of a desire to experiment with photographic techniques in a playful, accurate way and is inspired by Berenice Abbot, who dedicated much of her practice to presenting complex scientific principles to the public in a simple and accessible manner. “Researching within the realms of science it quickly became apparent that everything has rules and quantities and so I chose to visualize the quantities. Rules might be next,” he shares. Each representation is derived entirely in-camera, a process he describes:
I wanted the images to only show something through a technique, so for instance without the motion of an object it would appear completely different or without the strobe again it would be different and not be representational of the concept. A lot of the techniques involved (the) motion of an object captured over a long exposure. Some additionally have a strobe effect during the long exposure, others use multiple exposures while shifting the lens for instance, or simply incorporating simple props/fx to distort or reveal a notion.
Share this story
A Trio of Visual Catalogs Celebrates the Innovative Figures Who Pioneered Modern Information Graphics
A new book set honors the lives and legacies of three figures who fundamentally altered the way we communicate and organize data still today. Information Graphic Visionaries is a catalog trio dedicated to educator and entrepreneur Emma Willard, statistician and founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale, and scientist Étienne-Jules Marey, who all brought insight and clarity to the modern world by conveying complex information in visually compelling and convincing manners. Edited by RJ Andrews of Info We Trust with art direction by Lorenzo Fanton, the series unveils these previously overlooked histories through newly discovered graphics and prominent works paired with contextual essays and annotations.
Through a combination of atlases, wall hangings, and textbook woodcut graphics, Emma Willard: Maps of History explores how Willard invented new conceptions of time and ultimately defined chronology in the United States. Florence Nightingale: Mortality & Health Diagrams contains the nurses’ persuasive designs that ultimately sparked vital reforms to the English health care system. And the Étienne-Jules Marey volume is the first English translation of the French scientist’s seminal text on data visualization, The Graphic Method, La Méthode Graphique, which was first published in 1885.
After launching May 11, Information Graphic Visionaries is already nearing its goal on Kickstarter, but you still have time to back the project.
Share this story
An Intimate Series About Aging and Time Compiles Portraits of Photographer Nancy Floyd Every Day Since 1982
For four decades, Nancy Floyd has fostered a routine around confronting aging directly. Every day since 1982, the Oregon-based photographer has taken a portrait of herself perched on a chair in her living room, standing on the front porch, or posing wherever she’s spending the day for her series, Weathering Time. A forthcoming volume published by Gost compiles thousands of these images in a visceral rumination on what changes as we age.
Each black-and-white photograph frames a posed Floyd, who continually exudes a calm, laid-back temperament, and chronicles the way time impacts her body, relationships, and environment, honing in on her experience as a woman in the United States. Although the images are profoundly intimate and personal—many show her pets, stints in hospitals, and her parents aging—they simultaneously broach the universal. Floyd devotes an entire section to the “Evolution of the Typewriter,” and the project creates a broad visual timeline of advancements in technologies, fashion trends, and larger cultural shifts.
At the moment, the series is comprised of more than 2,500 photographs, 1,200 of which are laid out in simple grids in the 257-page volume. Floyd used a film camera for the first 36 years of the project, a choice that allowed her to take a blank image when she was unable to photograph herself, and only switched to digital last year.
Share this story
Artist Sarah Sze explores the myriad conceptions of time and space through a tremendous new spherical sculpture. Titled “Shorter than the Day” —a reference to Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” which considers the comfort found in life’s finality—Sze’s piece weighs five tons and was unveiled Thursday at LaGuardia Airport. It is suspended above an atrium in Terminal B.
The New York-based artist captures the magnitude of the upper atmosphere as it changes from bright blue morning to a vibrant sunset to the rich hues of the night through nearly 1,000 photographs of the sky. Each printed image is fastened to the aluminum and steel with alligator clips and is revealed as viewers move around the massive work, just like the earth circles the sun to mark a day. The piece was fabricated in collaboration with Amuneal.
Along with three other projects from artists Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Hornig, “Shorter than the Day” was commissioned by LaGuardia Gateway Partners and Public Art Fund. To find out more about Sze, whose work involves countless individual objects positioned in precise arrangements, watch her TED Talk and visit her site. (via ArtNet)
Share this story
One-hundred five hourglasses dangle from the entranceway ceiling at cSPACE King Edward in Calgary. Every day at both noon and midnight, the sand-filled vessels flip in tandem and reset. They’re part of a 2018 project called “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” a site-specific installation created by artists Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown, and Wayne Garrett (previously), that visualizes the intricacies of how we experience collective moments, individual memories, and history.
Each hourglass has a unique correlation to time–half document how hours slip by like a clock, while others reflect more personal relationships to the passing seconds in a series of notes submitted by the public. “Ranging from ‘the time it takes to call mom’ to ‘the time it takes to realize it was just a dream and you are no longer lying next to me,’ you can read the brass tags attached to various hourglasses to understand the increment of time being measured in sand,” the artists tell Colossal.
Every vessel, though, represents a year of the King Edward building, from its construction in 1912 to its transformation to the cSPACE area in 2017. “‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’ uses the hourglass as a symbol of non-linear time–both mortal and immortal–drawing a relationship between the sandstone school’s past, transitional present, and the uncertain future yet to come,” they said. Visualizing the otherwise abstract concept, the suspended project invites people to consider how all moments are interwoven.
For the project, the creative trio ground the sandstone bricks from the original building. They then sifted and measured the substance into the hand-blown glasses that measure zero seconds to four hours. Motors, sensors, microcomputers, and an internal clock using GPS ensures that each vessel flips on time even if there’s a power outage.
To keep up with Shordee, Brown, and cSPACE King Edward, head to Instagram. You also might like Brown and Garrett’s interactive lightbulb sculpture and Carbon Copy, their installation that flipped a car on its front bumper
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Science
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.