CO2 Cube from Obscura Digital on Vimeo.

It’s an older project, but no less timely: speaking of Obscura Digital’s work, they’ve also employed projection as a way to illustrate in tangible terms a serious issue. You’ll hear climate scientists speak in terms of metric tons of emissions. But because we can’t see those emissions, and because most people really don’t think about volumes of carbon dioxide (hardly something you pick up at the grocery), it’s tough to wrap your head around what that means.

That is, it’s tough until you see the volume. Assuming sea level, you get a cube of 8.2m x 8.2m x 8.2m (27ft x 27ft x 27ft) or a three-story building. And so at 2009’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Obscura Digital made the message more concrete. The object itself illustrates the point, and then becomes a medium for conveying information gathered from YouTube and Google. It’s called a “4-D Hypercube User Interface System,” which seems a bit of a stretch – this would technically still be a 3-cube – if clever branding. But the message is really clear.

It also suggests an important role of creative projection, which is making the projection surface itself part of the content and meaning.

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