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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.
Saturday, March 25, 2023 • 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Join us for two short films related to ¡Plantásticas!: Our Lives with Plants, a new exhibition celebrating the history and science of plants and their integral role in connecting us to our cultures and our planet.
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.
Thursday, April 13, 2023 • 6:00–10:00 p.m.
The Exploratorium is your playground after dark! Tonight, immerse yourself in Drawing Sound, a performance by Fred Frith and Heike Liss that explores the nature of improvisation.
Saturday, August 2, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.From tops to turntables, these films take objects for a whirl. Featured filmmakers create and record spinning motion to present dizzying views of the world.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.Full of mischief, tomfoolery, and whimsy, these cinematic spectacles lend gravity to levity, inspiring curiosity and a deeper engagement with our natural impulse to play.
Saturday, July 19, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.Treat your eyes to an earful with these synaesthetic shorts. Translating sound into responsive and harmonized imagery, these works of visual music revolve around innovative and memorable soundtracks
Thursday, July 17, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.Los Angeles–based artist Madison Brookshire presents a two-part program of his cinematic works concluding with his ambitious, cameraless Color Series. Exploring the tactile elements of the cinematic experience, Brookshire’s films produce complex, unexpected physical reactions.
Saturday, July 12, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.
A playful, do-it-yourself spirit pervades this collection of handcrafted shorts featuring paper sets, inventive uses of familiar objects, and astonishing patterns.
Saturday, June 28, 2014 • 2:00 p.m.
In this entertaining program, Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman merges a cinematic laser show with the science behind their development. The program concludes with a selection of laser show-related films.
Thursday, June 19, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.
In this innovative and singular video memoir, local artist John Sanborn explores the seismic artistic upheaval wrought by three great artists: John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, and Nam June Paik.
Saturday, June 14, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.
This program celebrates the sun and the lure of summer. From films that literally look at the sun to joyful works creating that summertime state of mind, these pieces encourage us to bask in the screen’s glow and let the warmth of cinema wash over.
Saturday, June 7, 2014 • 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.
Natural surroundings trigger narrative drama in these quietly hilarious films. Stunning microphotography reveals surprising interspecies interactions in Catherine Chalmers’ Safari, while Anna Frances Ewart’s Into the Middle of Nowhere documents the often invisible, inner world of children at play.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.
Join artist Mike Henderson for a screening of his award-winning experimental films from the 1970s and ’80s, and stay for a performance by the Mike Henderson Blues Band.
Sunday, June 1, 2014 • 9:00 p.m.
Join us for a co-presentation of The Navigator, one of Buster Keaton’s most successful films, as well as one of his personal favorites.
Saturday, May 31, 2014 • 12:00 p.m.
World-famous preservationist and entertainer Serge Bromberg will present rare footage from his treasure trove and accompany on piano.