Friday, April 18, 2014

Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks

Ted Talks was in Vancouver in March, and artist Janet Echelman’s sculpture floated in the skies by the Convention Center, it spanned 745 feet in the air: Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks.

It is spectacular in daylight as the wind moves the net in a variety of shapes.  At night, it is an interactive artwork powered by Google. The sculpture comes alive with illumination, it becomes an enormous canvas which the Vancouver public and TED attendees helped color using their smart phones. 160,000 lumens of light are intertwined through the giant net. As people view the sculpture overhead, they were able to choreograph the lighting with their mobile device.

“We all carry devices in our pockets that have an enormous power to connect with other people around the world, but rarely do we get a chance to use it to connect and create with people standing next to us. I’ve discovered that there is a certain kind of social space created underneath my sculptures that is contemplative and calm. People begin to talk to strangers about what they’re seeing,” says Echelman.

The artwork was displayed in Vancouver from March 15-23. I saw the sculpture just before it came down, miscalculated the dates and missed the night show!  Oh well, still quite a spectacle!

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