Battlefield is making art one cube at a time

Battlefield High School’s Rubik’s Cube mosaic challenge


A Rubik’s Cube Mosaic featuring Martin Luther King Jr.

Lander Cruz, Author

In 1974, a new type of puzzle was unveiled to the world and has challenged millions of people. The Rubik’s Cube, consisting of six sides made up of six different colors, has stumped almost everybody that has attempted to solve it at one time or another, despite it being one of the fastest selling toys of all time. Erno Rubik, the creator of the Rubik’s cube, said in an interview with CNN, “I believe probably the most characteristic part of the cube is the contradiction between simplicity and complexity. I love the simplicity of the cube because it’s a very clear geometrical shape, and I love geometry because it’s the study of how the whole universe is structured.” Since its release, many people have found other ways to entertain themselves with the cube other than just solving the cube.

People have created communities within the diverse world of cubing. There is an entire sport dedicated to seeing how fast people can solve the cube, known as speedcubing. Educators have used the cube to teach math disciplines, algorithms, pixels, scales, engineering, and design. There are also people who use the cube in a more artistic and creative way, utilizing the cube to make mosaics.

Instead of using stones, shells, or small broken pieces of glass, some people choose to make mosaics out of Rubik’s Cubes. The cube’s pixel-like appearance seems to be perfect for making mosaics, and it works! Giovanni Contardi, former world champion speedcuber and notorious for creating celebrity mosaics out of Rubik’s cubes, said in an INSIDER video, “The same set of a hundred cubes can be twisted infinite times to create infinite portraits. It’s fascinating for me and that is the reason why I keep doing it.” When the right combination of colors appears on the face of the Rubik’s Cube lined up next to other cubes, an image is capable of being formed. Since only a 2-D image is being created, only one side of the cube needs to be solved.

February 2019 will mark the beginning of Battlefield High School’s second annual Rubik’s Mosaic Challenge. The Battlefield High School library invites both students and teachers to attempt putting together one-hundred cubes to make a mosaic. Mrs. Tierney, the Battlefield High School librarian in charge of the Rubik’s Mosaic Challenge at the school stated in an interview, “It brought something fun for both teachers and students to do together and we want to build a community.” The challenge starts on  Tuesday, the 29th of January and will last for six weeks, all throughout the month of February. The library has had a posted ad on the Battlefield Bobcast, a source for events taking place at Battlefield High School, promoting the challenge as early as the beginning of January.

This year, the library announced that the school will collectively try to solve a mosaic of Rosa Parks only using a hundred 3×3 Rubik’s Cubes. To maximize participation, the library has a limit in the form of one person per cube per day. Mrs. Tierney had also stated, “We saw a lot of students [last year] who were afraid to try because they said they were no good at it. When they did pick it up and had success [creating the mosaic], they walked out of here feeling good about themselves.” Once the main mosaic of Rosa Parks is solved, the students and teachers will be able to vote on another mosaic that they would like to do. The library hopes to have a higher turnout than last year.

On the official Rubik’s Cube website, there are multiple guides and templates for making mosaics available. They are free to download and people can even rent a “Mosaic Builder Set” just for a little over one-hundred dollars. The website also has a program that allows users to create their own template with any picture they upload and input the number of cubes that are available to the person.