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Happy 3rd Birthday

It’s our 3rd birthday and as with most birthdays, it got some of our staff thinking about the year that was. This week we’ll hear from Cube Studio Manager Sean Druitt about some of the team’s highlights from 2015.

–  The Cube team created and released The Arcade and Plasma Wall projects which are now in rotation with other Cube screening projects

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–  The Cube team supported two artisit-in-residency projects. Cryptext and Nomemcluster by Jason Nelson which was were part of the Australian Council for the Arts digital writing residency. And the Ars Electronica TRANSMIT³ Resident presented The Society for Cultural Optimism

–  The team collaborated and implemented the Soul of The Cube project with ARS Electronica. This projects enables us to do a graceful transition between our projects, and while this transition is occurring, show the “Soul”. The soul is an artistic representation of data available from the Science and Engineering Centre (which houses The Cube)

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–  The team created the Dino Zoo project which was launched to the public in January 2016. This project was a large undertaking in collaboration with Dr. Scott Hocknull from the Queensland Museum and ViseR from the Institute for Future Environments. In addition to the project content released on The Cube, the floor space in the Screen 1 space was upgraded with motion sensors which tell the Dinosaurs where the public are which allows for more interactivity

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–  Thousands of people gathered in August for QUT’s Robotronica festival. This free event is a celebration of innovation and an opportunity for people to glimpse the possibilities of the future. Stay posted about the next Robotronica in 2017

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So as you can see we were super busy in 2015 working on many projects… and this is what you can expect from us in 2016!

–  The next screens project, Water Wheels. This project allows users to solve puzzles to manage and capture the utilisation of water.  This should be completed and released in mid-2016

–  One of our existing projects, Physics Playroom, will be given a facelift. This flagship project will be upgraded to utilise some of our newest systems and it’ll be refreshed with some new content for people to learn and enjoy

–  The next TRANSMIT³ Resident (soon to be announced) will begin mid-year

– The next big screen project! Half way through the year we will begin working on this. We can’t give away anymore secrets at the moment but hopefully we’ll have another update later in the year

And stay tuned for more highlights from our Public Programs staff next week.

Lexical Creatures: Creating art for The Cube’s unique wonders

Digital Writing Resident Jason Nelson discusses taming the unique beast that is The Cube.

Jason: Creating for The Cube is both exciting and challenging. Usually a digital artist has flexible options for how they birth their artistic creatures and where those creative digital critters will live and move and respond. However, developing content for The Cube is different.

The incredible engineering, gorgeous programming and world-leading technology (no I don’t sell used cars!) means the space and its networked computers have a very specific set of conditions and possibilities.

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The above is an image of what Rory Herring and I have crafted for our interactive literary art-game Canonical. It’s built in Unity, a great game engine with a somewhat steep learning curve. The development team at The Cube has created a fantastic set of tools and manuals to help artists and coders build wonderments for the space. But given the complex set-up of The Cube (each two touch screens has its own server!), we have learned that creating for this space is unlike anything we’ve ever done.

For example, in the image above, you can see our various floating elements and cannons etc. On my screen all those elements are jumbled up, tightly connected, because, frankly, even high-end computers would fall-over, grind to a digital halt, if you tried to test the entire cube. It’s so massive, we can only test a few screens at a time. So in some ways you fly blind for a while. You create and imagine and then when the testing time comes, you hope your code was correct, and that your work will magically fit over all the screens.

The above isn’t a problem. It is a chance to stretch myself as an artist. To really grow and create under a specific set of constraints. And the result will be something massively wonderful, a big experience with connections to science and poetry, all filtered through my usual brand of strange art.  So when you look up at those screens just know that whatever is up there, is the result of magic combined with artistry combined with super innovative code and programming and technology. Nothing is easy. But then again, great art never is.