Interactive installation is the first of a new series of media arts programs in the museum’s Black Box gallery space
Image courtesy of Karina Smigla-Bobinski, KIKK Festival.
SAN FRANCISCO (October 15, 2019) - Beginning December 6, 2019, the Exploratorium will host the U.S. premiere of artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s interactive artwork Kaleidoscope. The installation features a large light table with red, blue, and green inks, and invites visitors to consider and explore how we experience color. As visitors manipulate the ink, they create hues of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Visitors can preview Kaleidoscope at the After Dark kick-off of the museum’s annual festival of lights, Glow, on December 5, and it will remain on view through January 20, 2020. The installation is the first in a new series of media arts installations that will activate the museum’s Black Box gallery space.
Visitors to Kaleidoscope will be enveloped by vibrant colors and forms as they enter the darkened Black Box. Bright pools of ink will be projected on the walls, and color and light will emanate from the interactive light table Kaleidoscope. As visitors manipulate the inks they create an infinite palette of vibrant colors and forms.
“We’re pleased to present Kaleidoscope as the launch of our new programmatic Black Box initiative,” said Liz Keim, Exploratorium arts curator. “Smigla-Bobinski approaches her art-making process from a position of deep scientific rigor that highlights perceptual processes which usually escape our awareness.
With this installation, Smigla-Bobinski challenges the viewer to reflect on perception, the mechanisms that allow humans to see and perceive colors, and how what we perceive as beautiful—a vibrant range of colors in this example—is often the result of subconscious corporeal responses. Although white light contains a rainbow of colors, human eyes are only sensitive to red (R), green (G), and blue (B) light. The brain takes the stimuli from those three colors and interprets all the other colors based on the proportion of R to G to B. Since human brains only process those three colors of light, white light can effectively be described as a combination of RGB. All other colors are created in the brain, or what Smigla-Bobinski calls “virtual colors.”
Image courtesy of Karina Smigla-Bobinski, FILE Sao Paulo.
Visitors can continue to explore this phenomenon in the museum’s Bechtel Gallery 3: Seeing and Listening, which includes iconic Exploratorium exhibits, such as Colored Shadows and artist Bob Miller’s Sun Painting.
The museum’s Black Box is a darkened 800-square-foot space that highlights immersive media-based work at the intersection of science and art. The new series of media arts events will include four exhibitions over the course of the next year. Following Kaleidoscope, the Black Box will host Tristan Duke’s Artist-in-Residence project beginning in February 2020. Duke’s background in photography and holography, as well as his deep interest in the science of optics and visual perception, will manifest in an immersive experience involving the perception of light and image.
Since it opened in 1969, the arts have been an integral part of the Exploratorium’s interdisciplinary approach to understanding the world, and its research and design agenda. The Artist-in-Residence program at the Exploratorium has included a wide array of artists and makers of national and international prominence since it began in 1974.
About the Artist
Karina Smigla-Bobinski lives and works in Munich. She is an intermedia artist who works with analog and digital media and moves between science, intuition, expression, and cognition. She produces and collaborates on projects ranging from kinetic sculptures, interactive installations, and art interventions, often featuring mixed reality objects, multimedia physical theatre performances, and online projects.
Her work has been shown in 45 countries on 5 continents at festivals, galleries, and museums, including the Singapore Art Museum, Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, Science Gallery in Dublin, FACT Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool (UK), and many more. She studied art and visual communication at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland and Munich, Germany.
About the Black Box
A place for presenting artwork that inspires and astounds in mysterious and wondrous ways, the Black Box is a darkened 800-square-foot space that provides an ideal environment for media art installations. A commonly used metaphor in science and engineering, a black box describes something that has observable inputs and outputs and unseen inner workings. Something goes in and something comes out, but the process by which transformation occurs is “black” or unknown to the observer. At the Exploratorium, the black box concept has been combined with our focus on art as a way of knowing through exploration, inquiry, and discovery.
Drawing on the Exploratorium’s unique province as a hybrid museum presenting and developing artworks at the juncture of art, science, and technology, the Black Box features dynamic, innovative multimedia exhibitions to prompt curiosity and transformation.
CALENDAR EDITORS TAKE NOTE:
By Karina Smigla-Bobinski
Friday, December 6, 2019– Monday January 20, 2020
Preview on Thursday, December 5, 2019 • 7:00–10:00 p.m. (Ages 18+)
Osher Gallery 1, Black Box
Included with museum admission.
Tuesday–Friday: 2:00–5:00 p.m.
After Dark Thursday Nights: 6:00–10:00 p.m. (18+)
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Experience a landscape of astonishing visual effects in the interactive installation Kaleidoscope. Constructed as a large light table, artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s Kaleidoscope invites you to manipulate layers of inks comprised entirely of the primary colors: red, green and blue. However, as the work’s surface is pushed, pressed, and manipulated an infinite palette of vibrant colors and forms are revealed. Mixing inks transform into colors that are completely created by our brain—cyan, magenta, and yellow—or, as Smigla-Bobinski describes them, “virtual colors.” Each touch of the surface generates hyperdynamic new images that visualize the motion energy into engaging, chaotic patterns.
Glow: Festival of Lights
Thursday, December 5, 2019–Sunday, January 26, 2020
Included with museum admission.
Celebrate the holidays with us and excite your atoms at Glow, our annual festival of ebullient lights and subtle glows celebrating the close of the year. Bask in the mesmerizing gleams of special installations and kinetic sculptures, take a shine to illuminating exhibits, and show your sparkle with scintillating activities.
San Francisco is festive at holiday time, so enjoy the lights and bustle as you stroll along the beautiful Embarcadero waterfront with your loved ones to pay us a visit at Pier 15!
The festivities begin at After Dark: Glow on December 5, where you can savor adults-only programming (18+) featuring unique guest speakers and one-of-a-kind activities.