MSU ‘Illuminates Survivor Voices’ with Beautiful OLED Installation

Nancy DeJoy, Professor at Michigan State University uses OLED light to highlight the stories of survivors of assault by way of a poem with a strident call to action, the action to truly listen.

By Giana Phelan, Director of OLED UX, OLEDWorks

Earlier this month Illuminating Survivor Voices was unveiled at Michigan State University. The creation of Professor Nancy DeJoy, this show is an immersive experience which reflects the insight of survivors of assault.

Heavy stuff, right? But beautiful, respectful and important. The exhibit, with statements projected on walls and floors, is stark and commands the observer to pay attention and listen to the words of survivors.

I am so privileged to have been a part of this, with OLEDWorks making a significant contribution. The prominent piece in the exhibit is a poem that distills the content of hundreds of statements and interviews to a strident call to action, the action to truly listen. Nancy envisioned this work to be naturally illuminated, and, loving the soft but bright light of her OLED reading lamp, chose OLED lights for this mission. The warmth of the light is comforting, though the message is difficult. The poem begins and ends with the word “Listen” and this imperative is emphasized as these words brighten for several seconds – asking and commanding, are you really listening? At opening night, I could see the faces of readers washed in OLED light, completely engaged and reflective. Mission accomplished.

Our undertaking here at OLEDWorks was to take Nancy’s vision and make it real and at the same time practical. What a responsibility! The poem will be displayed in other venues through August and the versatility of the structure, the ability to adapt light levels on individual panels, and the ease of installation are important components. The most vital element, though, is that it is ultimately not about the structure but about the illumination of experience.