Michael James Lewis

Submarine Research Lab


The submarine forms an insular forgotten space, a chance to disappear, to explore, to discover. However, in this environment you are not free. The submarine forms an intricate life support mechanism that must resist the immense pressure of the water around, sustaining life in the most inhospitable environment on earth. The dangers of exiting such a machine at extreme depth are phenomenal, risking pressure, poisoning, and the bends. How does it feel to be within this machine, to be contained and held in this alien environment? How and when would you take your chance? Would you make it?


The submarine is a vehicle for experiencing extreme isolation. Once inside, there is no escape. Commissioned by the performing arts center Shunt, this installation ‘trapped’ users without any forewarning of what they might encounter inside.


A series of engineered sound experiences provided a designed barrier to shared experience, as visitors were prevented from relating their personal experience to that of a friend.


The installation was commissioned by Nelly Ben Hayeon for the 'Micronations Revolution’ event at Shunt, London. Developed and produced in collaboration with Andrew Friend, Claudia Palma, and Joana Rafael. Constructed with assistance from Stage 1 BA Architecture at Central Saint Martins.

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