A Superb Illuminated Work Will Soon Float Over Downtown Montreal

Press release - For immediate release

Montreal, April 21, 2015 – 1.26 is the name of a new monumental suspended sculpture that will float over Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des Spectacles this spring. An enormous colourful net stretched over the space, 1.26 is a work in motion that interacts with the elements, transforming into countless different shapes depending on the wind and ambient light. Montrealers and visitors will be able to enjoy this “floating” installation, which will be illuminated starting at nightfall, from May 7 to October 4 this year as part of a new setup for Place Émilie-Gamelin called Les Jardins Gamelin.


1.26 is the work of American artist Janet Echelman, internationally recognized for her engaging installations and ability to reshape urban space in simple ways. The installation was presented in Denver (2010), Sydney (2011), Amsterdam (2012) and Singapore (2014) before this stop in Montreal.

The selection of 1.26 as the finishing touch to Les Jardins Gamelin was inspired by the desire to show Montrealers and visitors to the Quartier des Spectacles some of the strongest works on the international scene. It is part of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership’s overall programming strategy, which aims to position the Quartier as a showcase for avant-garde public creations, both by commissioning new works and by hosting noteworthy existing pieces.

“We want people to have exceptional experiences in the public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles – experiences that transform the visitor’s relationship with the city. Ms. Echelman’s work has inspired deep fascination everywhere it has been shown, both among the general public and aficionados of contemporary art,” said Jacques Primeau, chair of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership board of directors.

“I'm excited to bring my work to Montreal - to this vibrant, ever-changing creative center. My 1.26 sculpture reflects on the interconnedctedness of nations and the rippling of events over time and the dynamic, fluid atmosphere of the Quartier des spectacles is ideal. My hope is that people will spend time underneath the sculpture and take a moment to contemplate the changing weather patterns - how the sun casts shadow-drawings onto the ground, and the wind and water interplay with the art.", Janet Echelman added.


1.26 was first displayed in downtown Denver in 2010 to open the Biennial of the Americas. The work and its title are inspired by the earthquake that struck Chile earlier that year. The quake caused a temporary shortening of the length of the day by 1.26 microseconds due to the redistribution of the Earth’s mass and a tsunami in the Pacific whose waveforms are referenced by the work’s sculptural shapes.

Materials and dimensions The work’s light and flexible materials give it a fluid, moving shape that contrasts with the inflexibility of the surrounding urban architecture. At night, lighting transforms the installation into a luminous shape that seems to float in the dark, since its support cables become invisible. Spectra® Fibre (15 times stronger than steel) and high-tenacity polyester fibre. Lighting design: Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. Dimensions of the net: 80 ft. x 60 ft. x 30 ft. Anchor points: Place Dupuis and UQAM buildings (450 ft. span)


Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculpture environments that respond to the forces of nature and become inviting focal points for civic life. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

The Boston-based American artist’s approach is centred on exploring the potential of unlikely materials, from fishing net to atomized water particles, using techniques that combine ancient craft with cutting-edge technology. Her interest in sculptures made of fishing net began with a residency in India, where she watched local fishermen weaving their nets.

Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Echelman was named an Architectural Digest 2012 Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages and is estimated to have been viewed by more than a million people worldwide. She recently received the 2014 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honouring “the greatest innovators in America today.”

Janet Echelman will be in Montreal from May 6 to 8.


Ted Talks:


Les Jardins Gamelin is the name for the new layout of Place Émilie-Gamelin, produced by the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and designed by Pépinière & co. In addition to the suspended sculpture, the Jardins also features cultural and citizen-driven programming, an architectural video projection, food-service areas, a large patio, urban agriculture and late-summer farmers’ and craft markets.

Practical information

Jardins Gamelin
Place Émilie-Gamelin
May 7 to October 4, 2015
Inauguration of Les Jardins Gamelin including 1.26 on May 7 starting at 5:30 p.m.


The Quartier des Spectacles is Montreal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues. The district is the year-round host to countless festivals and events, many of which include free outdoor shows and activities.

The Quartier hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design, immersive environments or interactive digital spaces and presents artistic video projections on several building façades year round. A showcase for new multimedia technology, the Quartier des Spectacles positions Montreal as a global leader in the urban exhibition of digital content.



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