Artist collective WERC (Groningen, the Netherlands) consists of different teams working within various disciplines. The collective is characterised by their experiments with new media and techniques: they are always looking for new configurations and challenges. Their shared fascination is the connection that bridges the digital and the physical world. This connection is visible in almost all of their work. WERC consists of Joachim Rümke, Olav Huizer and Jelle Valk.
For Meet the Neighbours artists Joachim Rümke and Jelle Valk of WERC took up residence in Groningen from 11 – 28 June 2018. During this time, they created the art installation MS Universal following several conversations with asylum seekers who lived on the Amanpuri; the bed-bath-bread-boat of INLIA (International Network of Local Initiatives with Asylum seekers). Inspired by these conversations they created a scale model of this bed-bath-bread-boat: MS Universal. This scale model is equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System). Real-size ships use these systems to determine their location, course and speed. MS Universal uses the same technology so it can be traced from all over the world by anyone with a telephone and internet access.
“Technology offers us a way to stay connected and to find our safe haven. With MS Universal we want to offer an anchor point to people who no longer have a home." - WERC on MS Universal