Random Generator Machine | Word | Experiment 1 | Experiment 2 | Experiment 3
"Unity, I thought, implies the possibility of disunity." - Ann Leckie

noun: knowledge; plural noun: knowledges
facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
"a thirst for knowledge"
awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
"the programme had been developed without his knowledge"

Carrying forward from my second experiment, I attempted to look at the effects in a lack of unity. The chaotic nature of disunity is a common theme in both historical and modern events of a global scale. One example is the current Australian society. Ironically enough, we are often thought to be multicultural and open to newcomers from other ethnicities, however, that is quite often not the case. There are many people who remain rude and hostile to foreign-looking citizens despite being legally Australian. It is these few people that serve as the "crack" in our "united community" and sometimes, if influential enough, may cause the entire structure of society to crumble. Other examples are scientists such as Galileo, Copernicus and Bruno challenged the all-authoritative Church in 16th and 17th centuries in which they undermined fundamental laws, proved them wrong and essentially helped bring down the then united constitution.

Gravitating towards the latter, I decided to play with books and see what sort of experiments I could do with the physical representation of the united volumes of human knowledge. At first I stacked up a full collection of the Lexicon Universal Encyclopedias and toppled them to represent the consistent nature of humans trying to test, prove or disprove the current data that we know.

The result seemed too simple and somewhat boring so I tried to look further into what I could do to show disunity in knowledge. After searching through the house (I was still intent on bringing the notion of unity to a home-scale so that it would be more relatable and a good reminder for both myself and others) I found a couple of cardboard tubes from the middle of tissue rolls. I wondered how many volumes I could stack on four little rolls. On the first try, I didn't balance them too well and the volumes fell over before I could take a photo or video and also I ran out of books. Learning from this lesson, I gathered old textbooks laying around the house and other heavy reading material for a second attempt. This time, I made sure to take photos of each book in case it fell over again. From those images, I compiled a gif.
The amount of books that I managed to stack before the tubes gave way reached far above the camera's positioned screen and ended up being a total of 46 books.
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to record the exact moment when the books fell as I dove out of the way. The resounding crash was loud enough to have my neighbours knocking on the front door in worry. I thought it was quite interesting to see all these textbooks from high school to undergraduate studies as well as a set of universally acknowledged encyclopedias stretched across the floor, tumbled down due to one of the cardboard rolls breaking. I guess the weight of knowledge is quite heavy after all.
This was the first tube to collapse under pressure.
The direction of the collapse of the first tube sent the books shifting to the right (from camera view in the above gif) which led to these two tubes sliding in the same way as the first.
The combined forces of the books coupled with the directional movement sent the last tube flying out still mostly intact in shape.

In the end, this experiment seemed to centre more on unity or disunity in knowledge. I felt that the textbooks were quite representative of our education system, especially as they covered both secondary and tertiary teaching. On reflection, this experiment really spoke to me since I had questioned the system on many occasions since a lot of what I studied for both HSC and undergraduate degree seemed to be only temporarily useful. I feel like the cardboard tubes represent how much value I place on the system and how willingly I accept it, because if enough of us started to disbelieve in it, we would cause disunity and reshape the education system.

Essentially, all three experiments taught me more than what I had intended to learn at the beginning. Unity isn't just harmony or balance or peace in the world, it's an empowering movement that we can control individually. All in all, the concept of unity in arts and design has potential for further exploration and experimentation with other materials outside of the common home as well as on a larger scale to perhaps raise awareness and promote a truly united community.