In 2016, artists Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder built a house that spins and tilts on one pivot point. Once it was complete, they moved in and lived in it for five days. The video shows the delicate response of the house to their movements, and makes a very obvious illustration of the importance of collaboration and communication.
As the video title says, the “tilting house forces roommates to cooperate.” The house remains balanced when they move and work together to keep it level. Imagine the intimacy and patience that would require! Imagine the selflessness and understanding of the other person’s needs that would be necessary to keep living comfortably and avoid living their lives “on a steep incline”! It is easy to imagine that we’re selfless, patient and always kind when we live alone. When we live alone, we don’t have to face the irritations of others early in the morning, or the annoyances of the bathroom being occupied when we’re running late, or the things that our housemates do that drive us mad, while easily forgetting the things that we do that hurt and irritate others! It’s easy to be virtuous when we live life alone!
But this house doesn’t allow for single occupancy. Unless you want to live your life always crawling uphill or slipping downhill, you must work with others. You must move with awareness of what the other one is doing and where they are going. We all know how often arguments can start through lack of communication. In a dramatic way, this house highlights the importance of openness and communication in relationships.
Consider this, if you had to live there with a friend, roommate, spouse or family member, how do you think you would do? What would you most struggle with? What do you think would be the most important thing to enable a successful stay?
I’m not going to spell out all the very obvious parallels of life in this clever and initiative art installation. Instead, share this video with friends, show it to your spouse, watch it with that one sibling you always argue with, and let the art speak for itself!
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