Sunday, August 8


Senate Square, 18:00


Having returned to Helsinki yesterday evening we spent most of the day doing the kind of things that we tend to do on a Sunday.

On our way home from Kamppi we stop in Senate Square to see an artwork. Janet Echelman created the sculpture, called 1.78, which “combines ancient craft with modern design software through collaboration with e.g. structural engineers and city planners”.

According to the Helsinki Biennale website,

1.78 is part of Echelman’s Earthtime series – works based on scientific data that are meant to remind us of our complex interconnectedness with larger cycles of time and the systems of our physical world.

The number in the title refers to the number of microseconds that the Earth’s day was shortened as a result of a single physical event – the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates which caused an earthquake and tsunami, and also shifted the speed of the earth’s rotation.

1.78’s sculptural form is inspired by the mapping of weight height data across an oceanic expanse, and the layers of colourful fibre, braided and knotted together, pulse with changing wind and weather. At night, the sculpture comes to life with projected coloured light.

Echelman’s sculpture will be accompanied by sound artist Tuomas Norvio’s sound installation Empathy for the fish and others. The installation will combine an underwater soundscape, streamed from Vallisaari Island, and wind data simultaneously measured at the Senate Square.

Now you know.