An immersive proposal to Skagit Climate Science Consortium and MoNA for SURGE 2018
Informed by science, expressed through art

Museums, galleries and science centers, more and more, are taking on the responsibility of drawing attention to issues that affect our ways of life and the wellbeing of the planet. Although arts and science centers may share these objectives, their approaches and methods differ -- with science eliciting thought, and art, feeling. 


So converging science and art into single installations offers new opportunities to more effectively communicate on 'big issues'.

This being said, against a backdrop of short attention spans and a wide variety of technology, one of the big challenges for museums, galleries and science centers, is finding ways for people to be receptive to - and to absorb and retain - messaging.

Immersive installations

One method which addresses this challenge especially effectively is through the use of immersive or experiential systems that allow a visitor to 'experience' information at an emotional, almost physiological level, through a multi-sensory system.

The iQube system
SURGE 2018

SURGE 2018 will have three main focus areas:

Snowmelt to water

Sea level rise

Marshland erosion

Transcribing SURGE into an immersive process

To maximize the impact of an iQube installation, a three-stage approach should be taken:

  1. Pre-event perception audit and online page

  2. The iQube installation

  3. An online post-event response

1.      Pre-event perception audit

Prior to the start of ‘SURGE’, a series of interviews will be published online. This will consist of short (15 second) responses from a cross-section of the community. Questions will probe people’s understandings/ expectations of sea level rise, how it may affect them personally, and how it may affect society at large. This content will also be used to promote the SURGE exhibit.

2.      The iQube installation

          Informed by science, expressed through art:

The iQube installation will run for the  duration of SURGE. In addition to the main immersive presentation, there will be a video presentation of the online perception audit within the gallery, on a free-standing screen.


After the immersive presentation concludes, visitors will be asked to respond to questions about their altered perc Occasionally, this will be recorded and published online, forming a part of the exhibit and as continued marketing of SURGE.


The immersive experience will last approximately 3 minutes to support viewer flow and attention span.

The iQube will be an interpretive installation, transcribing scientific information into an immersive experience of sound, lighting and video. iQube is a free-standing lightweight structure with three 65-inch 4K video screens, synchronized to create the illusion of three windows looking out across an ever-changing environment. Ambient sound and lighting augment the imagery which, at times will be subjective, creating moods as much as providing information. iQube's outer dimensions will be a maximum of 10 feet cubed, consisting of aluminum trussing, skinned with lightweight materials. The interior will consist of a lightweight matt black plastic composite paneling around the screens. Discreet LED strip lighting will run down the seams.

The process:

  • No matter how complex the science, we need to translate the issue into an easily understood, personalized narrative.

  • Narrative and visuals need to resonate with a wide range of ages and cultures.

  • A narrative needs to be conclusive. If we present a problem, we need to offer solutions and, ideally, a call to action.

  • The story needs to fit into a roughly 3-minute experience

The iQube production steps
  • Define the SURGE issue.

  • Create a narrative

  • Personalize the narrative

  • Identify people

  • Create question based upon story

  • Record interviews

  • Edit interviews

  • Workshop with content

  • Design online landing page & video

  • Publish content / stimulate debate / market Surge

  • Commence production of iQube story

  • Workshop and testing content

  • Post production & multi-screen build

  • Remote installation

  • Test drive / Outreach

  • Launch

3.      Post-event online

Good content can help build community awareness and valuable feedback regarding people's understanding, fears and hopes. A combination of pre- and post-event interviews and selected video content from the iQube installation will continue to be available at the discretion of SC2 and MoNA.

Producing immersive installations is usually the reserve of major, well-funded museums due to high construction, hardware and labor costs. In the case of iQube, the intent is to create high-impact installations, taking knowledge and experience from major installations into effective, appropriately scaled and affordable interpretations. Here are some of the cost elements, with certain items being sponsored by the creative director.

Funding, sponsorship and cost estimates

The iQube is an ideal vehicle for sponsors, offering a range of visibility options:

Branding & design options
More examples of immersive installations designed by John Bowey
  • Facebook B&W
  • Twitter B&W
  • YouTube B&W

© 2017 john r bowey

Images not provided by john bowey

have not been altered and are used in compliance with CC License.

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