Browsing 80 - 90 results of 111 programs for category - Popular Culture
The Exploratorium celebrates the 20th anniversary of Pi Day with a pie-throwing contest, Pi Day exhibits in Second Life, and more activities honoring everyone's favorite mathematical constant. Animated abstract images create a portrait of matter in perpetual decomposition. Runa’s Spell conveys a moment of connectedness with the sensual persuasions of an imaginary world. Image and music interact in a dramatic way to deepen and enhance the perception of enchantment and longing. The visuals consist of digitally interwoven and layered animated hand-paintings on 35mm film stock, animated objects and cutouts, and pixilation of live creatures. The music attempts to create a spiritual sense of journey through the fractional evocation of ancient Egyptian folk song. The sonorous texture of trembling and contorted images illustrate the hesitation, solitude, and endless dreamscape of the human mind. Artist Sheldon Brown creates an urban/suburban/rural environment in which the visitor literally "paints" the flying landscape with highways, buildings, and automobiles. This exhibit was part of the Virtual Unreality exhibition. The Teacher Institute's own food and entertainment maven takes us on a whirlwind tour of our golden city. Find out about the cheapest eats, the best place to see Art Deco or to go kayaking, and where to get insulted while you get your sandwich. These are Modesto's opinions; they don't represent the Exploratorium or its funders. PETER WHITEHEAD is an instrument builder, performer, and composer. His singular instruments, often based on folk instruments from around the world, feature unusual found materials.
Among his many instruments are the Heart Banjo, made from a baking tin; the Lawn Lyre, made from an old lawnmower and a metal oil pan; and the Spoonharp, made from a five-gallon metal drum, a eucalyptus branch, and kitchen spoons.
Originally from England, Whitehead is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founding member of the Mobius Operandi performance group, he also performs regularly with Closer To Carbon, an improvisational trio. If you’ve ever gone to hear an orchestra play, you know that the performance begins only after a session of tuning. An oft-repeated story tells of a visiting foreigner attending a concert in Paris. Afterwards, when asked which part of the performance he liked best, he replied, “The beginning, just before the man with the stick came in.”
Tuning means adjusting the pitch of an instrument. The pitch of a sound depends on its frequency, the number of vibrations per second that produce the sound. For example, plucking a cello string might cause it to vibrate back and forth 200 times each second. You hear that sound as a low pitch of 200 cycles per second, or 200 hertz.
An orchestra tunes itself to a very particular frequency, usually 440 hertz, a note known as A 440. The note is played by the oboist, and the rest of the orchestra tunes their instruments to match it. The oboe leads the tuning because of all the instruments, it is least affected by humidity or other weather conditions. Music is more than meets the ears directly. Just as no sound exists in a vacuum, every space sculpts the sound within it. Like a site-specific equalizer, reflections, absorption, and resonances combine to give each venue a unique acoustic stamp.
A subway tunnel is “live” space, rich with reverberations that trap and reflect sound in a well of hard tile. True to their name, “dead” spaces do nothing: The only sound heard is what travels directly from instrument to ear. An open field is the ultimate dead space.
As you follow this wandering riff, listen to the changes wrought by environment. Distance is also a factor here—the sound you hear is recorded from the camera’s vantage. Which spaces sound live? Which sound dead? Do the acoustic changes affect the feeling of the music?
Saxophonist Michael Pearce plays with the Highwater Blues Band in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stepping is rhythmic movement that uses the hands and feet as an instrument. Known best among African American fraternities and sororities, stepping draws on a long African tradition of using the body to make music.
Synchronized movement and chants are coordinated by the leader, or step master. Sometimes improvising, always cultivating their own distinctive moves and rhythms, step teams reflect and reaffirm both the unity and the unique style of their group. This wobbly luminescent sculpture by Liz Hickok is both art work and a
simulation of how a San Francisco neighborhood might jiggle when the Big One strikes.