American artist Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight.

Why you should listen

Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculpture environments that respond to the forces of nature — wind, water and light— and become inviting focal points for civic life.

Exploring the potential of unlikely materials, from fishing net to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create her permanent sculpture at the scale of buildings. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

Recent prominent works include “Her Secret is Patience”, which spans two city blocks in downtown Phoenix,  “Water Sky Garden”, which premiered for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and “She Changes”, which transformed a waterfront plaza in Porto, Portugal.  Her newest commission creates a “Zone of Recomposure” in the new Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. Upcoming projects include the remaking of Dilworth Plaza in front of Philadelphia City Hall -- turning it into a garden of dry-mist.

What others say

"Matching artistic vision with technical innovation, Janet Echelman offers new ideas for public art." — Architectural Record

Janet Echelman’s TED talks

Janet Echelman on the TED Blog
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Art

Unnumbered sparks fly through the sky, created by cellphone signals

March 31, 2014

“It looks like it’s holding up the clouds.” “It’s like a sky jellyfish.” “I love how the light moves across it along with the sound.” These were some of the comments heard at TED2014 about Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks, a collaboration between sculptor Janet Echelman and data artist Aaron Koblin. This monumental sculpture stretched […]

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Live from TED2014

Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks: Janet Echelman at TED2014

March 18, 2014

“I create sculpture that makes me feel protected, yet connected to limitless sky,” says Janet Echelman, the artist who gave the TED2011 talk “Taking imagination seriously.” Echelman’s sculptures resemble netting – gigantic, beautifully draped, brightly colored and installed overhead. In fact, she’s noticed something about her installed works that she never expected to happen: People gather underneath the […]

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Quotes from Janet Echelman

I wanted to make [lace] larger — to shift from being an object you look at to something you could get lost in.
Janet Echelman
TED2011 • 1.1M views Jun 2011
Beautiful, Inspiring