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A Giant Art Installation Inspired by Covid-19 Could Float Over the National Mall

And you can add your voice right now to this artwork.

A rendering of "Change Is in the Air." Photo courtesy of Poetic Kinetics.
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How would you finish either of these thoughts? “When this is over…” and “What if we had…”

Your answers could end up in a giant art installation that might float over the National Mall.

Los Angeles artist Patrick Shearn and his team at Poetic Kinetics specialize in large-scale, aerial works. They’re hoping to unfurl in Washington, DC, something similar to what they created last year for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Visions in Motion” featured 30,000 messages handwritten on streamers, suspended near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

He’s calling the new moving sculpture “Change in the Air,” and envisions it containing both messages of action and hope spurred by Covid-19. (Some examples submitted so far: “When this is over I’m hugging everyone tight!” and “What if we had a two-term maximum for our senators.”)

Given the uncertainties created by the pandemic, Poetic Kinetics doesn’t have a date when the piece might be installed, nor a location, although is reportedly taking steps towards getting a permit for the Mall. At the moment, they are collecting messages from the public for the streamers—the more they collect, the larger the artwork will ultimately be.

You can submit a message here or on any social media platform by using the hashtag #whatifwehad or #whenthisisover and tagging Poetic Kinetics. If you post your message on the Poetic Kinetics website, you can also send the message directly to your Congressional representative via a linked webform.

“Visions in Motion” at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 2019. Photo courtesy of Poetic Kinetics.
“Visions in Motion,” photo courtesy of Poetic Kinetics.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.