'Spirit of the City' by United Visual Artists

Alter-Projects, as the lead Curator for A/D/O by MINI curated 'Spirit of the City', an installation by United Visual Artists (UVA) for NYCxDesign in May 2018.  

UVA is a London based collective founded in 2003 by British artist Matt Clark. UVA’s diverse body of work integrates new technologies with traditional media such as sculpture, performance and site-specific installation.

Drawing from sources ranging from ancient philosophy to theoretical science, the practice explores the cultural frameworks and natural phenomena that shape our cognition, creating instruments that manipulate our perception and expose the relativity of our experiences. Rather than material objects, UVA’s works are better understood as events in time, in which the performance of light, sound and movement unfolds.


'Spirit of the City' is a site-specific installation launched during NYCxDesign in May 2018, investigating the physical and emotional response people experience when navigating an urban environment.

The installation is a modular system of revolving mirrored columns set on a grid configuration. Through the orchestrated rotation of these columns, dynamic compositions of movement, reflection, light and shadow constantly transform the space, articulating a seemingly organic behavior that is poetically linked to New York City’s activity.

The combined rotation of the columns is orchestrated to create different patterns of motion, expressing a number of moods that range from dormant to hectic — playful to chaotic. These patterns of movement unfold during a 24-hour cycle that has been pre-programmed to reflect the daily activity of New York, based on selected data that reveals levels of human activity in the city, such as energy demand patterns and traffic flow.

Challenging human perception, UVA aim to stir visitors towards a visceral reaction, as they move through the installation. Ultimately, the piece alludes to the mutual influence between people and the cities they live in.