Janet Echelman’s Aerial Rope Sculpture Forms A Technicolor Cloud Above Boston

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Artist Janet Echelman has joined forces with global design firm Arup to create a magnificent sculpture, which is now hovering 365 feet above Boston. The sculpture is made up of polyethylene tied into half a million knots, the total weighing about a ton. In daylights it resembles a giant net but when night falls, it is illuminated in ways that echo the Northern Lights and give a new visual dimension to the piece.

Echelman’s craft is inspired by rope weaving techniques she picked up from fishermen during her time in India. In this piece, she has combined the functional aspects of a fishermen’s net and the complex, yet simple beauty of nature. The piece appropriately entitled “ As If It Were Here Already” reflects the way in which the piece is somewhat natural in its form, reminiscent of clouds, vines and even spiderwebs.

Her cocoon like sculpture is at the junction of the natural and artificial world which are in turn reinforced by the context of the piece: hanging above a major American city. The illuminated pieces of her sculpture change with the movements of the wind. Her collaboration with a group of engineers has also given her work a more technical, manufactured aspect. The combination craftsmanship, technology and art gives this piece a stronger voice in the sense that is also reflects what the city is made of. It gives a sort of supernatural aspect to the urban atmosphere and complements the night sky while fitting in perfectly with the city in the daytime, as if it were already there.

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