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Rita J. King: StoryCubes in a Virtual World

June 15th, 2010 by karenmartin


Story Cubes in Second Life

As I explore Story Cubes I thought I would investigate how artists have used these objects in more successful ways than  my fabulously unsuccessful pinhole camera experiments.

Rita J. King of Dancing Ink Productions was commissioned by Giles to contribute to Transformations on diffusion.org.uk. Transformations asks writers, artists, performers, thinkers and makers to respond to two questions from different perspectives, why are we who we are? and, what do we want to become? In response to these questions Rita created 27 Story Cubes exploring aspects of how we construct our identity in a technological world and the role of imagination in this. The Story Cubes were only one aspect of the work which went by the title The Imagination Age. As Rita describes it The Imagination Age is a broad approach to rethinking systems through a prism of technology, held up to amplify the bright beam of the imagination.”

In the first instance, 27 Story Cubes were designed on paper. These are meant to act as a catalyst in the physical world for people to build stories in the way children build castles out of blocks. You can download these Story Cubes here..

Rita then recreated these physical cubes as virtual cubes within Second Life. The cubes could now transcend physical constraints of scale, gravity and fixed-ness and they explore the potential of the virtual world to stimulate and inspire creativity as it becomes possible to construct ideas which previously could only exist in imagination. There is a video  showing the Second Life StoryCubes on YouTube.

Finally, Rita blended the two virtual and physical worlds to create a hybrid digital/physical space. The 27th cube has an Augmented Reality marker which can be activated at www.1000inchesinloveland.com using a webcam. This allows you to see the alternative reality of the 27th cube created by Rita.

In my opinion The Imagination Age takes the bookleteer concept of using digital networks to enable the sharing of handmade physical objects and extends and transforms it. As a result of Rita’s personal interests and skills the project opens up the question of what is handmade? The Second Life Imagination Age Story Cubes were crafted by Rita using digital processes, are these cubes any less handmade than the paper ones because of this? Another question concerns the different kinds of communication and social networks that let us share bookleteer objects; there are increasing numbers of these networks and how do we find out which type of sharing is most appropriate for our needs? For me, Rita has started a new way of thinking that goes beyond the content of the eBooks or Story Cubes to consider processes of production, consumption and dissemination. Thanks Rita!

Read more about the project at diffusion.org.uk

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