At ALTSpace we love to make art. Some of the projects that have come out of this space:

Groovik’s Cube

by GroovLabs

Groovik’s cube, currently installed at the Pacific Science Center, a 26ft high, fully playable, LED-driven Rubik’s cube.

Mike says: “We first built the cube as an art project for Burning Man 2009 and we’ve since been working hard to try and bring this project to the general public. We’ve been collaborating with the Science Center since summer ’10 and we’ve been doing a number of refurbishments including a brand new light-weight aluminum structure to create a neater look suitable for an indoor museum environment. ”

Groovik’s cube is a fully playable, LED driven Rubik’s cube, hung from the ceiling, corner down.  (the motion is of course simulated, not mechanical. I.e. the colors move around, not the structure itself). It can be played and solved by the visitors.

A particularly interesting feature is that we have split the controls into 3 stations placed around the cube, each allowing only one axis of rotation. This means 3 people have to collaborate together to solve it. The stations are ~30-50 ft apart from each other.

This makes the puzzle *considerably* harder with a current record solution time of 50 minutes (achieved on Friday night @ Burning Man 09).
It also turns a very introverted game into a collaborative challenge which is fun to watch. Imagine people shouting instructions to each other and running around checking on the state of the cube from different angles.

Temple of Shame, Burning Man 2011

by Alissa Mortenson, Nebunele Theatre

The Temple of Shame was a 6ft wide, 18ft tall wooden Temple dedicated to the collection of Shame from the participants of Black Rock City. The temple was ceremonialy burned on the last night of the festival to symbolically release all the shame collected.

From “The experience of shame is part of our shared humanity, yet paradoxically, the times when we are ashamed are the times when we feel most alone. But within shame lies a capacity for human connection. The Shame Bearers seek to explore this emotion as a powerful medium for reaching a state of shared vulnerability. In order to make connection –the core human desire– we must believe that we are enough, that we are worthy of love and acceptance. In our vulnerability and our recognition of our mutual imperfections, we can find worthiness and connection. That is the power of this project. ”

Copper sculptures of proteins

by Mike Tyka


Copper, Steel

Ubiquitin is a small regulatory protein  found in almost all tissues of eukaryotic organisms. The cell attaches short chains of Ubiquitin molecules to proteins, which labels them for destruction and subsequent recycling. The Ubiquitin tag directs proteins to the proteasome, which is a large protein complex in the cell that degrades unneeded proteins back into their amino acid constituents. These are then reused to synthesize new proteins.  The constant recycling of proteins not only ensures damaged proteins are removed quickly but also allows rapid regulation of enzyme levels in the cell.

Structurally, Ubiquitin features all of the major structural features of typical proteins including two a-helices a curved b-sheet. Its small size  (76 amino acids) makes it one of the most studied proteins for protein folding and dynamics.


KcsA Potassium Channel

Copper, Steel

Potassium channels form potassium-selective pores that span cell membranes. They are the most widely distributed type of ion channel found in virtually all

living organisms. The four identical subunits are situated in a four-fold symmetric

al manner around a central pore, which allows potassium ions to pass freely.  At the top of the structure, formed by four loops lining the pore, a selectivity filter is situated which prevents other ions (such as sodium ions) from passing. The correct ions are detected by their si

ze and charge. Note that that no active pumping of ions occurs; it merely allows passive conductance of ions down the con-centration gradient between the two sides of the membrane. The KcsA is an archetypal membrane protein with eight tightly packed membrane-spanning a-helices.  The four short helices in the center where the chain crosses half the membrane and then returns to the top are a more unusual feature.

Cassie Hibbert’s Beautiful Lamp Designs

See more on her new website!

One Response to Art

  1. Pingback: ALTspace Hackerspace | Circuit Cellar

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