Two artists built a rotating house and named in “ReActor” in Ghent, New York, that looks to be an awesome engineering feat, a hypnotic work of art, and a nauseating experience for the pair who lived in the spinning home for five days last summer.
Alex Schwerer and Ward Shelley had been creating art together since 2007, when in 2016 they debuted their turning work at the OMI International Arts Center, a home that spins with the wind.
The boxcar-shaped house in the video above was 40 feet by 8 feet and will be on display through July 2018.
Writing for Art Forum in April 2017, Cynthia Davidson observed, “the object is certainly not a typical work of architecture; ReActor is perched on a single concrete column, fifteen feet tall, and is engineered both to rotate in the wind like a giant weather vane and to seesaw up and down.”
On day 2 of their five-day stay at the house, in journal excepts given to the New York Times, Shelley had this to say about the constant spinning: “We almost never stop drifting in circles. It takes only the slightest breeze to set us in motion. It feels grand and processional. Always something to look at, always a new adjustment needed to stay in the shade. The rocking motion, on the other hand, is mostly caused by us moving around inside. The motions are graceful and oceanic.”
The way the house works is that in order to keep it level, weight needs to be distributed evenly, so the artists — if they wanted to keep steady — need to be located on different parts of the house, the psychological impact of which wasn’t lost on one viewer of the work.
“Today one person observed that we were ‘living together in a house that keeps us apart through a need for balance.’ We talked for some time about how the desire for level ground was similar to what a wall does in keeping people separate,” Schweder commented in his diary of about living in the house for five days.
On the fifth day of living in the spinning house, a hard summer rain hit the area.
“I felt like a child waking up to the season’s first snowfall,” Shelley writes. “I sat up in bed and just watched the weather.”
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