august 13, 2021 - Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz transforms Munich’s Odeonsplatz with lively immersive art experience

Opening of the art installation “Earthtime 1.26 Munich” by Janet Echelman

Stuttgart/Munich.  On the occasion of the IAA MOBILITY 2021, #mercedesbenz 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 #mercedesbenz. 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. #mercedesbenz, 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 #mercedesbenz and sustainable mobility,” said #katrinadt, Vice President #mercedesbenz 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. #mercedesbenz 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.

Further information in the press release to download

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