Humanity-- A Living Installation, 1998
Interactive project

Humanity -- A Living Installation is a community-oriented installation that deals with issues of individuality and cultural diversity. The featured interactive installation is part of a large body of work consisting of over two thousand forms grouped in various configurations to present the individual within evolving social structures.

The interactive version begins with hundreds of similar but unique forms installed on shelves in a grid pattern on a wall. The transparent shelves are linked together by clear acrylic tubing. This modular structure, which can be installed in various environments, suggests its adaptability at the same time as it is site-specific.

Over the course of the exhibition, participants of all ages are guided through an intellectual and artistic process that culminates in the painting of forms as a means of self-expression. Participants are each assigned a unique form which serves as a metaphor for inalterable traits such as height, skin color, and heritage. After painting their forms, they are asked to compare their original assigned forms to the now painted forms, confirming that actions can outweigh inherent traits and that what people do with their lives matters more than the traits they were "assigned" at birth.

By the end of the exhibition, participants will have transformed the installation from a faceless sea of humanity into a visual celebration of individuality and diversity. Participants are invited to return for a closing reception to see how the installation evolved and to retrieve their painted forms.

-Devorah Sperber, 1998