The Cube Microplex is, as its name suggests, a small place. But like its titular shape it has many sides and much more going on inside its walls than in your usual out-of-town enormo cinema. It's also as Bristol as a hot-air balloon.
The Cube is a haven for independent spirits run by an autonomous, artist-led collective – visual artist, pop-song manipulator and Cube veteran David Hopkinson actually calls it an anarchist collective – in which volunteers play the role of artist, performer, cleaner, you name it. Says David: 'We approach the running of it as an art project itself.'
It also has a bewildering array of in-house projects on the go. So as well as its wide-ranging programme of films, gigs, comedy and other events, plus the cheapest cinema ticket in town, here are a few other reasons to love The Cube.
The Cube are responsible for this idea – a micro trading business concept that utilises social networks and uses the following definition to help explain itself: 'feral describes a process which is wilfully wild (as in a pigeon) as opposed to romantically or nature-wild (wolf).' Okay, then. Essentially, the idea is to get people trading with each other via social networks, texts and emails and to use friends, travellers, whoever's passing through, to transport goods like the El Salvador coffee on sale at The Cube.
Join the band
Well, the orchestra actually. The Cube Orchestra is an improv group that welcomes anyone – and they really do mean anyone – into the fold. 'Pots and pans' and ideas are a happy substitute for traditional musical talent. Get a taste for what you can be a part of here and then email them to book your place in the band.
Beer isn't the best accompaniment to a long and winding experimental film but rather than serving Coca-Cola, The Cube ‘wild-crafts' its own cola from an 'open-source recipe' found online. It took the artists involved a few years to get it right, but right they finally got it. You can buy their concentrate from anywhere in the world, by Feral Trade of course, and they distribute the fully brewed stuff around Bristol by social courier.
It's a conveyor belt of talent
The number of bright young sparks who've emerged from The Cube makes it look like a government-run genetic experiment in the arts. Zun Zun Egui, Bassclef, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Rozi Plain, Racheal Dadd, This is the Kit and others have all either worked at The Cube or played in the orchestra. It's not a bad place to spot tomorrow's (weirder) creative minds.
They like it al fresco
As well as taking projects on the road to events in other cities, they have an irregular outdoor-screening strand. So keep your eyes peeled this summer.
You'll be supporting a properly independent project
Who doesn't like that idea? After a year-long campaign, The Cube finally bought its home on April 1 last year (no joke!). They still have to get people through the doors of course, but they refuse to do so with a regimentally bland programme. As part of the campaign, The Cube made an experimental (what else?) 70-minute art film with contributions from people who've passed through down the years. Expect its Bristol premiere later in the year.
The Cube, Dove Street South.