Robert Wogan: Artist & Apocalyptic Explorer of Insdustrial Decay & the abandoned S.S. United States

Installation, video and Lighting artist

I love creating environments that unnerve the viewer by removing one of the senses. I self impose this type of discipline on myself because it helps me question and reexamine how I perceive my own ideas of life. The use of light on either abandon or obsolete structures changes the way one views the ruin during the day, a change of perception. In general I look to change the way people look at the world around them by creating environments that engage a suspension of disbelief. In my installation work I do this by surrounding, or totally enveloping the client within the work, to feel it, touch it, to be in it is the way I translate.


S.S. United States Video Titlled "Below"

Purchase "BELOW" - The full length 55min DVD

About The ship:

The SS United States was a product of the creative efforts of one of the world's noteworthy marine ship designers, William Francis Gibbs. In 1952 Gibbs dream to build the world’s fastest, safest and technologically superior Ocean Liner came to fruition when the SS United States crossed the North Atlantic in just 3 days. The assembly of this ship and its accomplishments were truly monumental for the time, challenging all conventional attitudes of ship design worldwide. Learn more about the greatest ocean liner ever built & the SS United States Conservancy.

How the woganworks video "Below" was done:

I attached and wired a construction Helmut with an infrared, wide-angle camera, 2 mini florescent lights and a mic for a DAT recorder. In a backpack I used a lawn tractor battery connected to an AC converter to power the whole operation. It was the middle of the summer and the bowels of the ship must have been 100 degrees, much like when it was running. The video started slow as an exploration of the engine room and surrounding compartments. Though, as I continued through the maze of dual engine rooms, up and down between levels I became confused and lost. Below is a 55min one take journey that starts calm and ends quite frantically, as I am tired and frustrated trying to find my way out.

The YouTube video is a brief 10 minute excerpt of the full length version. The 55min full length version of "Below" was actually part of a 2003 NYC art installation at Universal Concepts Unlimited titled "Below (United Radiance)."

View photos of "United Radiance" in the portfolio

Personal thoughts on this project, why it was done:

Why not! I have always admired human’s supreme building and or engineering achievements. This is one of them and ironically it has been cast aside, at the time, to rot away. It was my duty, mixed with fascination and fear, to document the labyrinth of rooms and mechanical wizardry. I really did not have an end game for the project I just knew I had to do it.

Links: Other work by Robert Wogan

Press: Articles about Robert Wogan's work on the S.S. United States