Flipped Lecture Three: Taking Imagination Seriously

15 Oct

“It’s hard to believe that what I had imagined was now built, permanent and had lost nothing in translation…”


“Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing — which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.”

LINK: Taking Imagination Seriously

Who is Janet Echelman?

Janet Echelman is an American artist, who specialises in public art installations and sculpture. Her public installations reshape urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. Graduating in honors in visual studies from Harvard University in 1987, Echelman moved to Bali, Indonesia to live and work for 5 years. In 2005, she created her first permanent installation, She Changes, in Porto, Portugal. Today Echelman has constructed net sculpture environments in metropolitan cities all around the world. She collaborates with a range of professionals including aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators. According to Sculpture Magazine, Echelman’s work represents and signifies “a bold new direction for sculpture” and is “one of the truly significant public artworks in recent years.”


Key Ideas I found in this Lecture:

Imagination is everything when you’re a child. To a child, their imagination is real and important – and in some sense, it can define who you are. A child’s imagination is one of the most fundamental life skills which eventually assist in developing a reality, with its only boundary being in your head. This sense of imagination eventually becomes lost when we learn about boundaries, such as social boundaries, financial boundaries and educational boundaries. Upon watching this lecture, i got goosebumps. It was incredibly amazing to see one woman’s imagination created a dream, which in turn became a reality. These days, i find that my own imagination has been somewhat stifled amongst my day-to-day tasks, but after watching this flipped lecture, i feel compelled to tune into it more frequently.


This TED talk by Janet Echelman demonstrates how an artist takes her imagination seriously by working with her it, rather that against it. The end result, her public sculptures are what makes her  imagination real.


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