A situationistic voyage through online images and collaborative associations
© ludwig zeller, 2007-09

"One of the crucial issues for me currently seems to be to reconstruct
the tension between a networked topology and a basically linear mode of discovery."

Hartmut Winkler, 1994

CubeBrowser is a six display cube with digital screens that connects to online databases like Flickr.com. The owner is able to move through thousands of image-sets by turning and shaking the small cube in space. The pictures, which are streamed onto the cube from the internet, are grouped by tags. Horizontal turns change images, while vertical turns change to other tags and therefore associations. This creates a situationism-like "derive" in a collaboratively created archival architecture in your hands. What lies next to the mountains, what is next to the sky? CubeBrowser unfolds an awe-inspiring trip through the hidden realms of online databases. Originally, this project has been started with the help of Andreas Muxel and Charlotte Krauß.

Download the information booklet (PDF, 1MB)

Download the book Cognition On The Edge by Ludwig Zeller (PDF, 100MB)



There is an almost endless amount of data available on the WWW that is also growing much faster than you could view it. So, since there are much more images around today than used to be on your room floor back then, you need new ways of moving through them. CubeBrowser realises a way of browsing, that allows you to stroll without a goal but with the chance for an inspiring surprise.

This approach of browsing is like finding a way through a labyrinth. At each branch, you can keep on going on your path or choose to do a shift in your direction, bringing you on a new path. Tags can span paths through content on the web, too, since they connect similar things together. And in the case of Flickr, images do not only have one single tag, but several ones. While exploring the database from image to image, you can branch off to other tags that are associated to the current image and will then lead to yet other images. This makes it easy to dive into the incredible amount of public images and memories, that are stored in the web today.



Only two modes of navigation are used: next and previous image for a selected tag as well as switching to associated and returning to already visited tags. On a cube, these can be easily mapped like a cross, since each face offers the possibility to be turned to the left and right as well as to the top and bottom. Similar images are shown on the horizontal axis, while turning the cube on the vertical axis brings you to new tags ('up') or already visited ones ('down').