ReActor is the newest work in an experimental, performative series of “social relationship architecture” designed and built by internationally renowned architect-artist duo Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley.
Located in Architecture Omi’s Field 01, ReActor is a habitable sculpture, where Schweder + Shelley will live in full view of Omi’s audience. The 44-foot by 8-foot structure rotates 360-degrees atop a 15-foot concrete column in response to its inhabitants’ movements, exterior forces, and interior conditions, making visible the intimate relationship between architecture and its inhabitants.
ReActor is part of the 2016-17 Architecture Omi exhibition WOOD: From Structure to Enclosure.
According to an Omi International Arts Center Facebook post, the artists described their experience of living in the house : “We’re spacemen in the wilderness.” Both artists kept journals aboard ReActor, and described the movements of the tilting house as “graceful and oceanic.”
Shelley said, “We almost never stop drifting in circles. It takes only the slightest breeze to set us in motion.”
Schweder said, “A view that is always changing, sleep that comes and goes with the sun’s light, and a sense of connectedness with your roommate through knowing what he is doing and feeling mediated by the building – in short, this building is breaking our habits.”
For five days, the artists experienced a novel connection to the environment and to each other, as they had to be conscious of where they moved. They enjoyed the gentle movement of the house but also at times felt their movements were constrained, as they continually had to make small adjustments in favor of balance.