The Man Behind The Life Cube: Meet Scott Cohen

Since he was a kid, Scott Cohen believed that if you wrote out your wishes, dreams, goals and aspirations, the chance of them playing out becomes much higher. This is the idea behind the Life Cube Project that has been taking place over the past few weeks on 10th and Fremont. The community was invited to paint and write down their dreams on the cube to be released into the universe at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when the installation is set aflame.

After attending Burning Man, Cohen, who hadn’t taken an art class since third grade, was inspired to become an artist. He created the first version of the Life Cube in 2011 for the famous art and culture festival, which he thought to be a mediocre attempt. But after receiving positive feedback from fellow burners, Cohen continued with the project making it bigger and better. After three successful Life Cube burns, he took the project off the Burning Man playa and into our city in 2014. This is the second Life Cube Downtown has seen, and most likely the last.

What inspired the Life Cube concept?

When I went to Burning Man I saw all this fabulous art. It was different than anything I’d ever experienced. The few times I would go to a gallery or museum, it was always, ‘stand back and look at something,’ and it’s cool, but after awhile I can count the number of apples in the bowl. How do I stay engaged? Somethings are terrific and thought-provoking, but it’s [from] an observer point-of-view. I’m not an observer. I’m a doer. I like to do stuff. You go to a sculpture garden and what’s the first sign you see? ‘Do Not Climb.’ When I went to Burning Man I saw this art that was huge and it didn’t say, ‘do not paint on it,’ or ‘don’t write on it.’ It didn’t say, ‘don’t climb on this.’ It was really valuable to have an amazing and interactive experience. That was my inspiration. It was this visit to Burning Man where I saw art in a completely different way.

Life Cube LV 2014 Burn Photo for Lowdown

What message do you want people to take from the project?

I want people to really understand that this is theirs. It’s not mine. The most important thing about this it’s that I did not create this so I can say, ‘Look what I did!’ We created this. We as a community created this, and it is for the community. It is not to just come and look at. It is come to be a part of it.

Do you plan on coming back to Vegas?

By Saturday night, I will have given everything I possibly could to this community. I am running on as little sleep as possible. I’m willing to speak 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anybody and everybody who will listen. I spoke to over fifteen thousand kids….This is probably the last time I’ll do it in Las Vegas, because I want to take it around the world. This chance to come back was really because [the city knows me], and the fire department and the police department know I honor what I said I would. Last time, we had no fights and no arrests and it was totally a family-friendly environment.

Where do you want to take in next?

Detroit is top of my list—Oakland, New Orleans, Saint Louis. I’d like to go to a city where there is some strife and where there is a strong artistic community. And then internationally, I would like to go to Europe, to Berlin or Barcelona. But I also would like to go to countries that are potentially communist, and there are all sorts of challenges. There’s challenge in regard to language…A lot of places obviously have serious issues with regard to artists writing or painting something that might not be appropriate. Nothing is easy. Believe me! Nothing is easy. Is it worth it? Absolutely. It is so worth it.

Vegas Seven