Top NavTop NavTop Nav

Award-winning Student Project Offers Look at Resource-Starved Future

  • July 2, 2015

A panoramic look at the inside of Live Cube.
A panoramic look at the inside of Live Cube.
Jason Anaya, Richard Rizzo and Michael Emono (from left) with Live Cube.
Jason Anaya, Richard Rizzo and Michael Emono (from left).
Live Cube, from the outside
Live Cube, from the outside

An idea conceived on a camping trip evolved into an award-winning project for three Cal State East Bay graduate students.

Jason Anaya, Michael Emono and Richard Rizzo combined their shared interests in tiny houses, sustainability and dystopian fiction with their individual talents and expertise to create “Live Cube.” The project, part of their multimedia graduate program at Cal State East Bay, has generated interest beyond the classroom, earning two Editor’s Choice awards at the Bay Area Maker Faire.

“We wanted to share this message about how (society) over-consumes and how minimalistic we could actually be to survive,” Emono said. “That was one of the motivations for this project, and telling a cool story built it into this.”

A visit into the Live Cube, a one-room space, gives a glimpse of what Earth might be like in a resource-starved future. It tells the story of one man’s life in the dystopian society through the objects in his tiny house. As visitors explore the space, the objects they touch will trigger an audio excerpt of the life the fictional man leads in a world lacking sufficient water, energy and oil. For example, pushing the water pump triggers the man’s thoughts about living with a rationed amount of water sent by the government.

“Right now the way they’re trying to make us conserve water is charging us more for it,” Anaya said. “We figure the ultimate way is to not have plumbing. If you don’t have water coming into the house, you only get what (the government) sends you. In this future, they would ship you the water. You’d use it, and you’d ship back the dirty water. They’d keeping cleaning and recycling it.” 

The creative and innovative project was run entirely on solar power at several Maker Faires in the spring, where it was a hit with judges and fair-goers. In Reno, people braved 45-minute lines to learn more about Anaya, Emono and Rizzo’s idea of a dystopian society.

Though the three students graduated in June, they’re hoping Live Cube can live on. They still have ideas to make the space more detailed and realistic.

“We’re trying to come up with all kinds of different angles so this project can benefit not just our degrees,” said Anaya, who also teaches in the art department at CSUEB. “Maybe we can involve the school and continue to work on it.” 

Besides being able to create a fascinating look at Earth’s potentially grim future, the collaborative nature of CSUEB’s multimedia graduate program allowed Rizzo, Anaya and Emono to learn from each other and build real-world skills.

“It allowed us to work creatively and collaboratively with other people,” Rizzo said. “In a good working environment you want people who can collaborate because ego gets in the way a lot of times. This program totally is great for that and exploring the creative process.”

© California State University, East Bay. All Rights Reserved.