UNITY: In Pursuit of the Humanistic Spirit & One-Room Shack Collective in conversation with Evelyn Owen


  • One-Room Shack Collective


In January 2011, we (One-Room Shack Collective) began to discuss the merits of the Watermans’ gallery’s “Call for Proposal” for new media projects in respect of the London 2012 Olympics. The Open Call specifically targeted interactive projects. We decided to create an installation project that embraces phenomenology as an aesthetic experience, as articulated by the French theorist, Paul Dufrenne. Our idea was to create a project that fully implicates the viewer as the co-producer, and as one whose presence defines and completes the installation. In other words, without the viewer the art work is not complete.

UNITY is an intricate architectural installation based on the word unity. It is configured as a transparent maze-like angular and rectangular structure, navigable from two ends, that is to say, from the letter U, which serves as the entrance to the structure, and letter Y, which is the exit out of the maze. The five letters of the alphabets which make up the composite structure are wired with led strip lights of five different colors.

Each letter is wired with a different colored led strip lights to represent a particular color of the Olympic rings. The structure is susceptible to human presence and is lighted up due to installed motion detectors. As viewers navigate one alphabet after the other, the lights come on in the color of the Olympic ring of which the individual alphabet is wired to represent. All five alphabets are fully lighted simultaneously when viewers crowd the entire installation all at once. Each single alphabet that spells unity represents a circle of the five Olympic rings. The installation is interactive and makes for a total immersive experience for the audience, and also becomes a colorful embodiment of the Olympic spirit.