Moving Cube has been awarded this year’s Business and Arts South Africa innovation award.  

The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) virtual art gallery, Moving Cube, won this year’s innovation award at the 24th annual Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) award ceremony. 

Moving Cube was launched in late 2020 by the arts and culture division of UJ’s faculty of arts, design and architecture (FADA), in partnership with the MTN SA Foundation. 

According to Annali Dempsey, the curator of UJ’s art gallery, “This acknowledgement will go a long way in inspiring arts and culture at the University of Johannesburg…to continue innovating the various spheres it operates in.” 

“The resulting Moving Cube is now firmly established not only as a virtual gallery, but also as a depository of knowledge, a research archive and a teaching and learning mechanism,” says Dempsey. 

Visitors move through a digital three-dimensional gallery, and can customise wall colours, lighting and the order in which they view the art. Previous exhibitions, artist statements and their process can also be viewed in either 3D or 2D displays.  

Moving Cube home page with a bottle of champagne and glasses.  Photo: Jessica Bunyard

Moving Cube was one of three finalists in two categories, Innovation as well as Long-term Partnership.  

Niel Nortje, the manager of the MTN art collection, says virtual exhibitions have had more digital foot traffic than the physical ones but what they lacked was the walkabout experiences and the opportunity to meet and interact with the artists.  

Dr Jaco Meyer, a composer with a PhD in musicology from North-West University and an LTCL diploma in composition from the Trinity College of London, has composed the music for the Letter B: Babery to Bigeminate which forms part of Willem Boshoff’s Blind Alphabet Project. This is the first of the Blind Alphabet exhibits to be accompanied by musical compositions. 

“He [Dr Jaco] wrote a musical composition for each of the forty pieces, and this was actually why we needed the platform. We needed viewers to not only look at the spinning photographs of the pieces, but also to access the musical pieces,” says Nortje.  

This project was designed to enable blind people to guide sighted visitors through the art gallery and discover certain philosophical aspects of their vision, or lack thereof. 

Dempsey and Nortje were given limited edition Imiso Ceramics trophies, on behalf of Moving Cube, to honour their big win.  


FEATURED IMAGE:  An individual observing a 3D walkabout of the Primordial exhibit by Pauline Gutter. Photo: Jessica Bunyard