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Established in 1983, Cinema Arts at the Exploratorium has defied expectations by focusing on artist-made and independent cinema at the crossroads of art and science.
Throughout 2023, the Exploratorium will present a special series of curated screenings, public events, and immersive filmmaking experiences celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Cinema Arts. The series will acknowledge Cinema Arts’ history, pay tribute to the accomplished filmmakers who over the decades helped ferment the program’s innovative direction, and showcase and amplify the voices and visions of a new generation of curators and emerging interdisciplinary/media artists.
Approaching movies as an active experience, Cinema Arts sees the projection screen as a portal to investigation. We engage with filmmakers who create works that inspire the imagination and instigate conversation. Animation, documentary, poetic observations, and abstract visuals serve a broad spectrum of curious audiences while blending the methods and aesthetics of artists and scientists. Through our programming, we create a space for deep observation and provide an opportunity for visitors to explore compelling people, places, and ideas that extend through the museum and beyond.
Help us celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Exploratorium’s groundbreaking Cinema Arts program.
Our collection of films and events offer a rich resource for public audiences, and also provide an important research collection for both our teaching programs and exhibit development teams.
Thursday, April 6, 2023 • 6:00–10:00 p.m.
Spring is in swing and new life is popping up everywhere. Tonight, be inspired by flora in our ¡Plantásticas! exhibition and enjoy a life-giving cabaret of art and science with the Gold Beams Social Club.
Saturday, April 8, 2023 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Screenings | 2:00 p.m. Plant Printmaking Workshop
Enter a whimsical world of flowers brought to life through the cinematic lens. In between screenings, get hands on with plants by creating a plant print using screen-printing techniques.
Thursday, April 20, 2023 • 6:00–10:00 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day as we honor our landscape’s original care keepers and explore the complex bonds that Indigenous communities have with the land that gave birth to them.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. PT
An array of animated and kinetic short films explore the inventive ways that amateurs, artists, and tinkerers manipulate the moving image in surprising and/or captivating ways.
Saturday, June 18–Monday, September 5, 2022
Celebrate the spirit of playfulness in moviemaking. These shorts explore creative uses of familiar materials, revealing imaginative landscapes, humorous inventions, and curious surprises.
Saturday, April 23, 2022 • 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. PT
Ecological restoration methods are progressing in new directions thanks to modern observational tools, which allow scientists to see, study, and protect the environment. Join the Science Communication Lab's team and guests for a screening and discussion of their award-winning short film.
Saturday, March 12, 2022 • 1:00 p.m.
Explore the visual and poetic language of fractals, pi, and the square root of love.
Saturday, February 5–Sunday, April 3, 2022
This remarkable story of a legendary Berkeley social activist Mable “Mama” Howard and her daughter, renowned artist Mildred Howard, threads together multiple Bay Area stories centered on social and economic justice and examines the fragile nature of change over two generations.
Saturday, January 15, 2022 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
We present an eclectic mix of animated and documentary short films exploring luminous aspects of both our natural world and one creatively made of fabricated elements.
Saturday, December 11, 2021 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
In recognition of Glow: Discover the Art of Light and in celebration of the holidays, these animations capture winter’s cool gleam and the heart’s warm glow.
Saturday, November 20, 2021 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
In celebration of the opening of Glow: Discover the Art of Light, we put a spotlight on short, kinetic films that dance! These exuberant films express joyful movement in luminous and colorful ways.
Through Sunday, January 30, 2022
Bask in the glow of the screen with this selection of artist-made movies. Drawing inspiration from nature and optical effects, these imaginative light studies offer a landscape of visual impressions.
Saturday, September 18 • 7:15–7:35 p.m. PT
Come view a floating media arts installation that will activate and animate the San Francisco Bay to raise awareness around issues of immigration and the need for safe harbor for political asylum seekers.
Thursday, July 1–Sunday, October 31, 2021
Visual delights, ingenious craft, and luminous phenomena. Something wonderful awaits you in this collection of artist-made films.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 • 4:00 p.m.
Nowhere are the consequences of a warming climate more pronounced and observable than the polar regions of our planet. Frozen Obsession follows a 2,000-mile Northwest Passage Project expedition in search of the effects of climate change.