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The Fifth Shadow

The Fifth Shadow

Gino Leyva del Real
by GinoLR on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

The point is the first shadow. The line is the second. The square, which arises from the union of two lines, is the third; and the cube, like everything around you right now, is the fourth. We are the cube. The projection of the fifth. What's THE FIFTH SHADOW?

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When I was six my grandfather came up to me and, taking out the pen that he always carried with him, he asked: "What is a point?" He then placed his pen perpendicular to the light allowing a point to project onto the wall. "A point is the shadow of a line," and he turned his pen so that I could see its profile.

With a new object he pointed to a new silhouette on the wall.

"What is a line? The line is the projection of a square," he said as he turned the object so I could see its squared side face. He took a new object and continued, "What is a square? It is the projection of a cube," and this time, he placed a small cubic box in my hands.

With his eyes fixated on me, he asked the last question. 

"What is a cube...?"


The Fifth Shadow is an interactive essay that seeks to reflect on various conditions of the human being and their temporality. It is a poetic exploration of the different edges of being alive.

The journey starts from a question my grandfather asked me when I was a child, and covers twenty years of various personal experiences in an attempt to find the answer.

It is a geometric, philosophical, personal, temporary and soulful experience.

The experience is divided into four large chapters subdivided into various spaces. Each chapter takes as a thematic and metaphorical basis one of the first four shadows:

- The point, which represents the relationship with oneself.

- The line, which represents the union of two points, the relationship with the other.

- The square, which represents the interweaving of points, and the relationship with the social apparatus.

- And, finally, the cube, which represents the unfolding of all relationships, and our approach to the abstract.

Third Shadow: The Square | Scene 18. Stairs

Third Shadow: The Square | Scene 19. Outside

This is the first time that I work on such a large project, or rather, it is the first time that I work on a project of this medium in general. Despite not studying at a university or career specifically focused on this industry, I am interested in experiencing this medium in a country (Mexico) where these types of pieces are not usually made.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the piece was made on a small portable laptop by a team of one single person. The attic became a “temporary” office and my mother's closet an audio recording booth. Everything (from conceptualization, writing, 3D modeling and programming, to music and voices) was done by myself amid dusty boxes and unworn itchy coats.

The piece is yet to be completed, however (and despite a broken fan and monitor, multiple corrupted data, insufficient internal memory, noisy neighbors and a kidney stone) it is estimated to be finally finished by the end of 2021.

Due to the strong relationship between the participation of the narrator and the spaces, I first completed the essay and, after measuring the duration of each scene reading, then designed the levels according to the time-space relationship that the movement velocity of my character (and the voice duration) dictated.

Thanks a lot. 

It's the first time that I participate in this event, as well as the first time that I share my work with such a large audience... so... this is very significant to me; especially doing it with this proyect that is so close to my heart.

After all, it is a little piece of the deepest part of my heart, a complete opening of my soul. So, I share it with great enthusiasm and I hope you like it. I am very excited to hear all your feedback.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you have an extraordinary day and that you always find peace in your mind, tranquility in your heart and lightness in your soul.

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