May 042009
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Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgement difficult

Nearly my whole creative experience I have been toying around with virtual spaces and their exploration. Since I began working in CGI (on the ZX Spectrum VU-3D by Psion March 1983) and then into papercrafting and print techniques, I have been on a mission to merge the crafts and techniques and give the user experience more validity, or basically give the onlooker a super-human power, instead of me, the artist.

For years I had considered the cinema 360 shows at the seaside and the stereoscopic applications, with red/blue glasses etc. that are familiar, hi-tec experiences you can have in many venues in various cities around the world. Six years ago I hit upon a technique that would replicate, or reverse engineer, the effect of a Quicktime VR movie or QTVR. QTVR’s construct an all around photographic experience from a single viewpoint, in the centre of a cubic space. My thoughts caught fire when I considered that it could be a real cube, and the centre was the natural, average height of a human eye level.

Click this image to see a small version of the demonstration model that you can print out and make:

For 6 years I believed the object necessary for this centre was to be 12 foot by 12 foot by 12 foot. Just before I had the opportunity to practice the concept, it hit me that the natural centre of a cube, a 5 foot 10 inch person, would require an 11 foot 6 inch cube.

Rich Holland was the keen craftsman gifted with the task of building the walls and ceiling on the floor of the Wild Building in Birmingham. It took 3 days and over 2000 screws.

The cube was launched at the preview night on 23rd April. To aid the viewing whilst the door was closed the very able Peter Dixon fitted a pendant 150W lamp 3 foot down from the centre of the ceiling, evenly casting light into the corners of the cube.

I have to admit to getting a little cabin crazy whilst I worked inside the cube. After a while I was unsure what was the floor, and what I could rest on whilst I worked on the ceiling and floor. The sheer scale was a little ambitious in the timescale of the show, only two weeks to view this manifestation of a crazy idea I had. I hope to return to the next phase and hopefully bring it to London. In the meantime, enjoy a little version I made of it that you can view on-screen.

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