Maker Faire 2017
Last weekend once again (for the 11th time in a row!) we brought tinkering to Maker Faire, creating a whole environment where visitors were able to enjoy many ways of engaging with lights, shadows, reflections, and colors. For the first time ever we requested a dark room, which would allow us to continue our recent experiments with Light Play. We were adjacent to the big dark space in Fiesta Hall, in one of the side rooms that have a little less foot traffic, which allowed for quieter and more thoughtful interactions between visitors, exhibits, and activities.
The main corral was dedicated to Light Play. We sectioned out a large portion of the space with tube wall, and had six stations going on at the same time, two of which dedicated to the digital version of Light Play we have been experimenting with. We went big in many ways, constructing a collective wall of light with 24 boxes, which made for a very nice display!
It was equally beautiful and interesting from the back too! Thanks to a wide corridor visitors could walk behind the main wall and check out the mechanisms that made the vignettes work. Perhaps not surprisingly we did not have a single episode of “vandalism,” where visitors messed up somebody else’s hard work. I did, however, notice people coming back hours after leaving their box behind to check on it and fix little things that might have gone awry.
We played around with signage for the space. Sebastian built a cool mixed media vignette with a rotating tinkering sign overlaid on a projection of Lásló Moholy-Nagy’s film “Lightplay,” which was the original inspiration for this very activity!
From the simple activity sign that was nicely illuminated, to a larger color changing stencil sign built by Amy and Deanna, every little touch combined to create a cohesive and beautiful environment.
Speaking of environments, I feel that we created one of the most cohesive and evocative environments at Maker Faire; Ryoko chose exhibits that complemented the activity very well. Some classics like shadow kaleidoscope saw visitors delight in creating geometric patterns from a variety of materials.
People explore the Pixel Table both above and below the surface, and it was nice to bring the original inspiration for it, a simple box filled with mylar cylinders. Ron Hipschman was an Explainer Extraordinaire, as always, engaging faire-goers at all the exhibits and really deepening their experience.
Ron also set up a traveling version of Colored Shadows, where many a pose were struck.
And we created a small free-standing version of the shadow wall exhibit, that allowed both writing with light, and with a little bit of creativity (or the strong ultraviolet flashlight that Ron was carrying around!) to freeze people's shadows just like at the Exploratorium.
Who knows what next Maker Faire will bring, but it will be yet another adventure.