Opening of the art installation “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” by Janet Echelman
On the occasion of the IAA MOBILITY 2021, Mercedes-Benz is transforming Munich’s Odeonsplatz into a living art venue with a floating sculpture created from recyclable fibres. The monumental 24-by-21-metre artwork “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” by U.S. artist Janet Echelman is constantly changing due to natural forces, thus symbolising the dynamics of our ecosystem. This sustainable message corresponds with the core idea of the new IAA concept and the entrepreneurial attitude of Mercedes-Benz. The multi-coloured sculpture kicks off Mercedes-Benz’s appearance at the IAA MOBILITY, which is being held in Munich for the first time. For the duration of the trade fair from September 7 to 12, 2021, it will float in the sky above the luxury automobile brand’s exhibition and experience area at Odeonsplatz, which will be entirely dedicated to sustainable solutions for the future of mobility. Mercedes-Benz, artist Janet Echelman, Munich’s Department of Culture and the Munich Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) jointly opened the art installation today. It will be on display until the beginning of October.
“We want our participation in the IAA to make a cultural and sustainable contribution to the city of Munich that benefits its residents as well as visitors and guests attending the IAA and, at the same time, create a strong forward-looking image of Mercedes-Benz and sustainable mobility,” said Katrin Adt, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans Own Retail Europe. “The art installation embodies the current zeitgeist and offers a space to meet and interact. It symbolises change in the interplay with nature similar to the transformation process in the automotive industry. Mercedes-Benz is on the way to CO2-neutral mobility. As a contemporary automotive brand committed to sustainability, we want to contribute to sustainable quality of life in the city.”
“A city like Munich, which is world-famous for its museums and collections, also needs very current, contemporary art. It needs the energy of many creative people and artists and the radiance of artistic events that can ignite discourses about how we want to live together,” emphasised Dr. Michael Ott, Head of the Section for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Department of Arts and Culture, City of Munich. “We support very different projects, especially in the field of art in public spaces that interact with urban environments. The idea behind this is that artists from different disciplines can use shared public areas as spaces for experimentation and design, and enable other perspectives on and in the city. We are therefore pleased that Janet Echelman’s work can be seen during the IAA in Munich.”
“Public art is not only an aesthetic enhancement, but also a contemporary organism. By being in a public location, a work interweaves with society in its myriad facets,” said Stephanie Utz, Co-Founder Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA).
“Earthtime 1.26 Munich” interacts with nature and activates urban space
The monumental yet lightweight “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” sculpture explores the interconnected networks of our cultural and physical worlds. It is around 24 metres long, 21 metres wide and 16 metres high. Its fibres, woven like a fishing net, are made of recyclable highly engineered fibres, some of which are 15 times stronger than steel by weight. Wind, rain and light continuously transform the net, which is constantly in motion, changing its shape and colour, interweaving with and activating the urban space and allowing it to breathe. The three-dimensional shape is inspired by the 3D data model of the ocean’s surface following an earthquake that caused ripple effects across the Pacific Ocean. The number 1.26 also refers to this natural event, which led to an acceleration of the Earth’s rotation, shortening the length of the day by about 1.26 microseconds. “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” is being shown in Germany for the first time. It is part of the artist’s “Earthtime series” exploring the interconnectedness of humans with nature.
Janet Echelman’s artworks question the status quo in urban space
With her net sculptures on the scale of buildings, artist Janet Echelman questions the status quo in urban space. The fluidly moving forms of the artworks contrast with the rigid surfaces of the urban environment and bring softness to the scale of the city. At night, coloured LED lights transform them into floating, luminous forms. Echelman’s work demonstrates ways in which the creative power of the flexible, soft and transparent can be harnessed in cities. Her experiential sculptures have become inviting focal points for urban life around the world, combining ancient craft with new design and interactive technology. The result is a collaborative urban experience that is simultaneously virtual and physical.
“I’m excited to install Earthtime 1.26 Munich in the historic Odeonsplatz, where past and present intertwine to create a dynamic urban now. My artwork reflects an interconnectedness of opposites – flexibility with strength, earth with sky, things we can control with the forces beyond us. I invite viewers to pause beneath my sculpture for a moment to contemplate our interconnectedness with each other and our planet, and to become aware of our own sensory experience”, said Janet Echelman.
Studio Odeonsplatz by Mercedes-Benz and MUCA jointly offer city tours of art in urban spaces
The sculpture “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” will enrich Odeonsplatz until the beginning of October. It is located directly opposite the Studio Odeonsplatz by Mercedes-Benz, where a process model of another sculpture by Janet Echelman is on display. The work, entitled “Skies Painted With Unnumbered Sparks”, embodies the fusion of art and technology. The in-location EXOS app extends the analogue exhibition space – including during IAA MOBILITY 2021 – with digital content and turns the Studio Odeonsplatz into a social media space that offers visitors an interactive stage and thus a holistic experience. They gain access to the latest information from the Studio and can digitally enhance their experiences on-site, and share them, comment on them and like them. In addition to the exhibition of the two sculptures by the American artist, Studio Odeonsplatz by Mercedes-Benz, together with the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA), invites people interested in art and culture to take part in guided tours of contemporary art in Munich during September.
The promotion of art is part of a broad-based cultural commitment of Daimler AG and thus also of Mercedes-Benz. It is an expression of the corporate self-image of responding responsibly to social issues and developments. With its commitment to art and culture, Mercedes-Benz wants to build a bridge and offer access to and knowledge about art for the residents of and visitors to the city of Munich. In this spirit, the artwork “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” will be an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz brand presence at the IAA MOBILITY. At Odeonsplatz, the brand with the star will be presenting its entire current and future portfolio of electric vehicles, as well as an exhibition on the core elements of its sustainable business strategy, such as CO2 neutrality, resource conservation, reuse and recycling.