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Artist Tim Hawkinson is celebrated for his idiosyncratic, imaginative artworks that re-purpose everyday materials in inventive sculptural constructions that simultaneously confound and delight. Hawkinson has collaborated with the Center for Art and Inquiry and the Studio for Public Spaces to create the third installment of our adventurous Over the Water series of large-scale artworks for the civic space at Pier 15. Bosun’s Bass is a tide-activated sound work inspired by the bosun's call, the high-pitched whistle used by mariners to give commands that can be heard over the roar of the sea.
Evoking the eerie sounds of San Francisco’s maritime past, Hawkinson’s whimsical work employs elements of everyday transportation—shipping container, bus bellows, bicycle—to create a bass bosun's whistle, which is tuned three octaves lower than the traditional instrument.
The shipping container, pitched vertically and installed over a hole in the deck of Pier 15, provides the lungs of the system. Tidal waters rise and fall in the container, compressing air and pushing it up into a giant bellows mounted above. The bellows, reclaimed from the pleated section of an articulated Muni bus, provides a steady source of pressurized air, which moves through a hose to the bicycle frame and there blows the bosun’s pipe. The airflow is controlled by a series of valves, levers, and other mechanisms that emulate a bosun’s hand and mouth motions to produce different sounds in the whistle. Cued by patterns cut into the tread of the bike's rear wheel, the bass bosun's pipe plays 21 different traditional calls including "Attention," "Carry On," "Swab the Deck," and "Pipe Down.”
We Make the Treasure
by Paul Ramirez Jonas
June 19, 2014–January 2015
Location: Exploratorium Pier 15
The second installment in the Over the Water series of large-scale, commissioned artworks.
Explore the value of objects lost and recovered, above and below the water line, at We Make the Treasure, the second installment in our Over the Water series of large-scale commissioned artworks. By traversing layers of present-day experience and forgotten history, we invite you to investigate the visible and invisible forces that make something a treasure.
Ephemeral, pulsing lines of air bubbles break the surface of the water between Piers 15 and 17, suggesting the ghostly outline of the Beeswing, a schooner that sank on February 17, 1863, as it returned to San Francisco from Monterey. Near the bubbling wreck is a rowboat loaded with mysterious cargo. Visitors are invited to interact with the imagined treasure of the Beeswing by using a crane to find and exchange a haul comprised of coin-sized objects of indeterminate value.
We Make the Treasure is curated by the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry in collaboration with the Studio for Public Space. Nato Thompson, chief curator of Creative Time in New York, served as advising curator. Not all shadows are black. Red, green, and blue lights shine on this wall, combining to make white. As you move in front of the wall, your body can block one, two, or all three of the lights, resulting in shadows of various colors. Plankton Populations is an exhibit at the Exploratorium that gives museum visitors both a global and microscopic view of the oceans' plankton, with social, open-ended interaction. The exhibit is an adaptation of a model created by scientists at MIT’s Darwin Project, which allows researchers to test how plankton respond to different environmental conditions, such as climate change. Are the stripes spinning . . . or are you?
Exploratorium exhibit "Silage Beach," by Artist-in-Residence Mowry Baden. When a moving scene dominates your field of view, you almost always perceive yourself as moving and the scene as stationary. You assume that you must be moving because in normal, everyday life, you move through the landscape–it doesn't move past you.
Come play at the Exploratorium! Now open at Pier 15 in San Francisco. Find your rhythm. Come play at the Exploratorium! Now open at Pier 15 in San Francisco. Two different views–one for each eye–create a 3-D image.
Like your own two eyes, the two video cameras atop the screen are separated by a short distance. Both views are projected simultaneously onto the screen.
Come play at the Exploratorium! Now open at Pier 15 in San Francisco.
Fog Bridge #72494 |
Artist: Fujiko Nakaya |
Fujiko Nakaya’s fog installation stretches across the 150-foot-long pedestrian bridge that spans the water between Piers 15 and 17. Water pumped at high pressure through more than 800 nozzles shrouds participants in mist and puts their own perceptions at the center of their experience. Homegrown, handmade and hands-on, there’s no place in the world like the Exploratorium. Now that we’re open at Pier 15, there’s more to explore than ever before. Edited b-roll of establishing shots, exhibits, and visitors for press use of the new Exploratorium at Pier 15.