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With a roll of thin plastic diffraction grating and some "stolen" sunlight, artist and exhibit developer Pete Stephens transformed the interior of the Palace of Fine Arts into a dazzling riot of spectral color. As he works to recreate the effect at the new Exploratorium at Pier 15, Stephens recounts the challenges—and the inspiration—of this expansive experiment in light.
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. This buoy will be anchored near the Exploratorium for six months, monitoring the acid levels of the bay and transmitting data to NOAA via satellite. This research will give NOAA scientists a better understanding of how the rising acid levels in the ocean are affecting very diverse things such as fish behavior, larvae development, and even plankton. As part of the festivities in honor of the Exploratorium's opening at Pier 15, Obscura Digital, internationally recognized creative technology innovators, transformed the historic façade of Pier 15 into a spectacular, interactive odyssey through micro and macro phenomena on multiple time scales. 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. The Exploratorium has commissioned San Francisco-based filmmaker Paul Clipson to create an abstract 16mm film study of the area surrounding our new downtown waterfront site at Pier 15. The film showcases Clipson's extraordinary treatment of the complex natural and cultural systems in the urban landscape, from the ephemeral rhythms of light and water to the rigid order of crosswalks and skyscrapers. Clipson’s work generally involves live collaborative performances with sound artists and musicians. For this film, an original soundtrack will be written and performed by composer Tashi Wada. There’s no mistaking the distinct voice—whether throbbing, singing, or screaming—of an electric guitar. How does one instrument produce so many different sounds? We visit with Bay Area electric guitarists Ava Mendoza and Henry Kaiser, plus Subway Guitars’ very own Fat Dog, to explore the components of this versatile instrument, getting down to pick-ups, “pots,” and pedals that make it sing. As a part of the Exploratorium's opening ceremonies, Miwa Matreyek performed in our Outdoor Gallery on April 17, 2013. In her live performance, Matreyek interacted with beautifully expressed cinematic narratives that unfolded as wondrous journeys, exploring nature and the human imagination.
For thousands of years, Indian women have created these elaborate geometric designs using a variety of natural materials—flowers, spices, sand, and natural pigment—to mark auspicious occasions, celebrations, and milestones. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has set the standard for hands-on, inquiry-based education. See how our new Pier 15 home, with its new exhibits and expanded resources, is helping us achieve our mission: to change the way the world learns.