Olympischen Spiele Peking 2008

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"The 6th Continent" is an artwork in public space of big visual impact and highly symbolic meaning. It addresses life in a globalised world. People are invited to be part and express themselves.


The idea is simple


Sea container are the universal packaging unit for the exchange of almost all goods produced by mankind throughout the world. Icons are a simplified form to address ideas and complex issues particularly in the internet. They are understood all over the world. Both items, the container and the icon, are the basis for the global exchange of ideas and goods in a globalised and networked world. Brought together they form what I call "The 6th Continent". This is the metaphysical continent of human history and human efforts hovering above the physical world of the five continents.


The use is complex


Hundreds of icons map the world. They address issues with social, economic, cultural and scientific background. Combined they produce meaning in a million shades. Used as a matrix they form the basic values from which the image is rendered. Used as a scrolling sign they are in a constant dialog with messages layered on top of them. Running at high speed the sculpture is a symbol for the radical flux of information in the digital world.


A sculpture in the public to be activated by the people


All together it is a space seizing sculpture in the urban landscape, that is idling at daytime and radiating light in the night. It is animated and can be used by passengers. Everybody can post a message using his cellular phone or the internet. In this way the sculpture gets an interface between the individual and the public, as well as an expression of identity in the globalised world.


How it works


Five standard sea containers in various sizes as a reference to the five continents are the core of the installation on a populated plaza. Both sides of the container are perforated in a regular pattern by circular holes. Every hole holds a different pictogram addressing a important issue of global interest. These icons are illuminated by LED-devices, which are linked to a digital steering. By assistance of a special software all dots of the container work as a integrated display, that can show images and text. The images and text are coming from passengers using their cellular phones or using the internet. The messages layer on top of the existing icons, which build an own universe of information.


Additional Possibilities


The logic inheriting in the project demands for the travel of the installation over all five continents. During the journey the number of icons can increase and be adapted to the specific location. Already during the transport between cities or continents "The 6th continent" can by active. Using independent generators the container can radiate messages while the ship approaches the harbour or the trucks ride on the highways. The arrival itself can turn into a event.


Special Events


The trucks with the container on the back line up while entering the inner city and drive in loops through the centre. Forklifts are waiting on the square, where the sculpture shall be installed. While unloading the trucks they start a container ballet according to a choreography. The performance can embrace especially composed music and poems commissioned to a writer. Other multimedia techniques can be integrated.




Young people a particulary interested in communication by technologies like SMS, blogs and internet. A twitter award could encourage them to contribute with high quality messages. Furthermore the "6th continent" could be the

backdrop of a pop festival, inviting youngsters to participate in a hip hop or rap competition. Text and animations would be displayed on the screen of icons.


Container Types


Oversea container are available in three sizes. This allows for various combinations of containers to suite the urban situation and the construction of spacious sculptures.



size: 2991 x 2438 x 2591mm

matrix: 5 x 6 icons

icons: 60 (total on both sides)



size: 6058 x 2438 x 2591mm

matrix: 5 x 13 icons

icons: 130 (total on both sides)



size: 12192 x 2438 x 2591mm

matrix: 5 x 26 icons

icons: 260 (total on both sides)