Being Artwork

What do a billowing, vibrant net and a large crocheted tree have in common? They both invite us to slow down, interact, and LIVE life to the fullest. Wildly inventive and thought-provoking, these two massive public art pieces by sculptors Janet Echelman and Ernesto Neto honor the presence, Being, and existence of those interacting with them. Both pieces are designed to be in constant motion and seem to breathe along with their viewers, pulling them in and inviting them to Be.

Neto’s hand-crocheted, 65-foot tree, which was on display in the Zürich train station last year, was affixed with 1,300 bags of aromatic spices so that as travelers moved through the station, they were greeted with a sensory Experience that was grounding, rooting, and encouraged them to slow down. The scent of turmeric, cloves, cumin, and black pepper provided a respite amidst the hectic travel hub.

Echelman’s pieces of colorful nets, which have been featured in some of the most visited spaces in the world, are purposefully hung so that they shift and change with the movement of the air around them. As she said in this interview with the Smithsonian, “I wanted the visitor to be within the work. The piece aims to show how interconnected our world is, when one element moves, every other element is affected.”

How might we introduce elements into our health care spaces that encourage others to interact and slow down? Be it a water feature, an art piece, or a sensory Experience, how can we honor the breath and life of our team members, providers, patients, and guests?