After watching more than 200 Florida sunrises during the course of a year, Chase Jones decided to do two things: build a giant cube and get married.
Jones, a 23-year-old Florida State University senior, set a goal in late October 2011 to watch the sunrise every day for a year with at least 200 different companions. He was surprised to learn that of his 214 sunrise companions, only 10 had stopped to watch a sunrise in the past five years.
“No one stops to watch the sunrise,” he said. “How could I convince them to?”
Among his many companions was his wife, Jayne Jones, 21, whom he first invited to his fourth sunrise and proposed to at the end of the project. After reaching the goal, they created the Sunrise Cube, an art installation and performance that will be featured at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Prior to working with her husband on the Sunrise Cube, Jayne Jones was not an artist or interested in art, which she often found too strange or abstract. The intention behind their piece radiates with positive values she admires.
“To me, the Sunrise Cube is a fight against human tendencies to attract darkness,” she said.
After testing a variety of ideas, Jones settled on creating a piece that would focus more attention on the beauty of a sunrise. The cube, a small room measuring eight feet on each side, is intended to be a space where people can have a variety of artificial experiences that evoke being in nature.
“In a way, it is like entering someone’s mind and viewing something through their eyes,” Jones said.
The cube has a screen made of reflective materials that create a colorful, kaleidoscopic space. Visitors stand inside the cube while a projector reflects light into it, creating a brightly-colored spectacle. The screen can also be flipped over while audiences view a musician or dancer performing inside the cube.
Jones said he was not shy in getting collaborators for his project. He asked complete strangers, friends, family, teachers and many others to watch sunrises with him. When it came time to make the cube, he built it in his living room in an apartment he shared with five roommates, who were helpful and patient during the process.
“My old roommates called it ‘Cubie,’ the sixth roommate and least reliable to pay rent,” he said.
Eric Segal, the Education Curator of Academic Programs at the Harn Museum, found the work appealing because it promotes the same activities the museum values: slowing down and looking. The incorporation of digital technology, dance and meditation will bring a magical and unexpected perspective to the Harn’s audience, he said.
Jones hopes that audiences will realize how taking time to reflect in a peaceful environment can improve their lives. Jayne Jones said she believes the project should inspire students to think about the choices they make in their lives.
“It is about finding light in this world and clinging to it,” she said. “I think that is beautiful.”