Immersive project "The Cube" is a hopeful gateway to an uncertain future
By Cristee Cook
Last week I masked up and went into The Cube: An Interactive Experience for the Socially Distanced Era at the Latino Cultural Center. The project is a collaboration between artists Emily Bernet, Ruben Carrazana, Aaron Johansen, Jeffery Bryant Moffitt, and Nigel Newton. Ruben Carrazana and Jeffery Bryant Moffitt created the original concept.
Stepping into The Cube was both what I expected and offered sophisticated surprises. The sentient vessel put me on edge. I felt anxious, vulnerable, and sort of confronted. I also felt some of my more complicated feelings reflected back to me, which was comforting.
The Cube handles pandemic isolation with a futuristic aesthetic. It's reminiscent of science fiction narrative devices made famous from the likes of H.A.L. in 2001: A Space Odyssey and similarly, The Cube is omniscient, brutally honest, and haunting in its humanity. Since the pandemic started, sci-fi storylines have felt all too present. For me, the fun of imagining what the future might be like is exhilarating and hopeful. It’s easy to ignore the downside of living through the complex psychological experience of global transition. The new world isn’t so rosy when it’s real life and the future we’re actualizing still feels uncertain and barely out of reach.
Still, The Cube excels both at calling out the honest experience of isolation and looking to a new era, or at least, being contented by hope that the things we love will come back. It’s a metacognitive story, allowing the participants to both interactive with and process our current paradigm.
Lighting designer Aaron Johansen’s work helps bring this layered and immersive event to life. Innovative and forward thinking, it’s a crucial part of what makes The Cube so surprising. Ruben Carrazana acts as a kind of man behind the curtain with a self-awareness I found refreshing, funny, even peculiar.
And while each artist’s hand in this project leaves a significant imprint, the dawning of hope in the story is brought to life with tenderness and grace by Emily Bernet’s contribution to the piece. I felt a little out of my skin while in The Cube, but her elegant performance left me emotional and pensive. It stayed with me for days after leaving The Cube. Nigel Newton’s original music is heart opening and calming, and as I reflected on my experience, his sounds stayed with me too.
Whatever you take glean from it, The Cube will likely show you something new about yourself and is a journey worth taking.
The Cube: An Interactive Experience for The Socially Distanced Era runs through January 30, 2021 at the Latino Cultural Center, Dallas, TX. Remaining performances are sold out, but the team is hoping to extend the show. In the meantime, follow The Cube on Instagram at @experiencethecube, or e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified as soon as tickets are available.