A social experiment with the aim to foster collaboration between strangers in a physical space
My Digital Art & Technology Degree Show 2013 piece and biggest art installation to date started from a desire to build a "playable" sculpture. The object would be host to a co-operative local multiplayer experience, to be accessed using mobile phones. Over the course of the one year working on this project, the direction has shifted sligthly:
IN_CUBUS was an experiment with the aim to determine how far out of their way people would go to uncover the purpose of what presented itself as an alien object inside a gallery space.
IN_CUBUS consists of three parts: the ominously glowing acryllic hexahedron, a projected visualisation showing connected users and the individual / group experience. True to its original inception, gallery visitors were encouraged to join solve the puzzle by loading up a Facebook page on their devices.
After logging on, you are presented with a flickering square and Cartesian coordinates. The observant participant will deduct that the coordinates correspond to the positions in the visualisation and that if more people joined in, more of the cube's faces would be unveiled.
Perhaps slightly over-ambitious, the cube was sending out a 50x50px small video stream. Meaning one would need about 2500 devices and place them in a grid in order to see the full message. On the opening night I peaked at a mere 13 users connected simultaneously.
So what would we get to see if we actually managed to secure that many screens? In short, each other. By joining the experiment, the user would unknowingly contribute to the content of the video, as it was being dynamically authored in the background using everyone's public facebook data.
The code is still up online for your perusal on GitHub. I intend to revisit it one day, clean it up and release it as an npm package for streaming partial video data.