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Free for After Dark Members
Adults Only (18+)
Note: The Tactile Dome and some programs have limited capacity and are available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lose yourself in over 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science at our adults-only After Dark. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.
Data has never been more beautiful. As scientists, journalists, and researchers search for inventive and inclusive ways to share their work, the field of data visualization has flourished, extending into eye-popping terrain. In conjunction with VISUALISE, join visualization creators and experts from NASA, NOAA, the New York Times, and more as they share their work and fantastic findings. Then immerse yourself in the data with works from artists forging new visualization pathways in the art space and see how data scientists learn about and express visually what we eat at Pairings: Mint.
Selections from Stamen
With Stamen Design
6:00–7:30 p.m. and 9:15–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Encounter a selection of visually evocative and revealing projects from Stamen Design, a firm of experts and innovators in the field of data visualization. Drawing from their wide range of projects, this screening demonstrates the beauty and utility of data visualization in the modern world.
Comics and Visual Communication
With Scott McCloud
7:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Comics have finally come of age as an artistic and literary form. This once-maligned medium of expression is poised for new opportunities, thanks to a mutating media environment and a potential revolution in visual education. Author and comics artist Scott McCloud shines a light on these and other fascinating trends—and demonstrates why every visual choice we make matters—in a fast-moving cascade of images and ideas.
Data as Exploratory Medium
With Fernanda Viégas
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Data is everywhere. And, as more aspects of our lives move to the digital realm, data becomes ever more ubiquitous and powerful. It also becomes more massive and harder to make sense of. Cut out some of the noise with artificial intelligence researcher Fernanda Viégas as she discusses ways in which data visualization can help us effectively engage with data: from generating scientific insight and enabling public debate to boosting artistic expression.
With Simon Rogers, Kevin Godes, and Clay Reynolds
8:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Please note: Seating and tastings for Pairings are limited to 120 ticketed guests. Pick up your free ticket at the Observatory.
Keep it fresh and cool this May: join Simon Rogers on a tour of the way Google News Lab analyzes food-based queries with data visualizations, expressing the intersection of data aggregation, visualizations, and food at their site The Rhythm of Food. Then take the process for a spin, testing the digital—which is to say, cultural—presence of mint. Additionally, sample the cuisine of mint, curated by chef Kevin Godes and beverage director Clay Reynolds.
Personalizing Climate Change
With Nadja Popovich
8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Climate change can often feel abstract, far away in both time and space. As graphics editor with The New York Times climate team, Nadja Popovich has grappled with how to make climate data more tangible and urgent for readers. Through the lens of recent Times projects, find out what she learned: how visuals, interactivity, and an approach to data that roots it in personal experience can prompt a deeper understanding of the impacts of our changing climate.
The ClimateMusic Project
With the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
9:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Tune in to the sound of climate change in this performance of data-driven music and sonifications. Working closely with scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, each musician wrote custom software to translate historical climate data and predictive data models into electronic instruments and musical parameters. Don’t miss the premieres of these remarkable compositions—data-driven pieces that explore the urgent issue of climate change through sound.
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
How does the natural world shift over time? Contemplate the world around you through a selection of visualizations that reinterpret environmental data through unique and thought-provoking visual approaches.
With Janet Iwasa
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Micro Cinema
See scientific hypotheses come to life in these animations from Janet Iwasa. Approaching science through the lens of art, Iwasa uses 3D visuals to translate complicated molecular and cellular science in an approachable way. Used to support research, learning and scientific communication, these animations aim to make molecular and cellular science more broadly accessible.
Inside a Cell VR Experience
With the Allen Institute for Cell Science
6:30–9:30 | Bechtel Gallery 3, Sun Painting
Immerse yourself in two virtual reality experiences from the Allen Institute for Cell Science. First, investigate cell division, or mitosis, as cells fall at your feet. Pick them up, explore them, and match them with the target that represents their stage in the process. Then learn about the protein cell kinesin—zoom in and manipulate kinesin motors as they “walk” along a microtubule inside a cell.
Playful Programmable Projections
With the Tinkering Studio
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Gallery 2
Explore light, shadows, and motion using common materials to create your own projection art. Then take it to the next level with Scratch-based programming. Get immersed in the world where the physical and the virtual meet!
Think of any scenario. Using five words or less, describe it in a sentence. Now watch as artist PNosa interprets your words and uses a sewing machine to draw your idea on fabric. Embroidered patches will be available for purchase.
Osher Gallery 1
Journey through total darkness in this twisting, turning, tactile sculpture. Walk, crawl, climb, and slide your way through a wonderland of textures using only your sense of touch as a guide.
Please Note: Due to the nature of this experience, certain restrictions apply. Guests who are afraid of the dark; claustrophobic; have back, neck, or knee injuries; or are in their third trimester of pregnancy should not participate. Guests wearing casts are prohibited. Also, please wear comfortable clothes.
You can reserve tickets for our 6:15 and 7:00 p.m. sessions. We also operate drop-in, first-come, first-served sessions at 7:45, 8:30, and 9:15 p.m.; tickets can be purchased at the Information Desk.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Osher Gallery 1
Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path. Pick up a ticket to reserve your spot in line for this popular activity.
Bechtel Gallery 3
Tune in to surrounding sounds by experimenting with strings and vibrations, and use electromagnets to build a basic speaker. Learn how to listen with your bones, and explore the workings of the inner ear.
Van de Graaff Generator
With the Explainers
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to have your hair stand on end (literally). Experience our electrostatic generator firsthand—with high-voltage direct-current electricity turned down to low current levels, our Van de Graaff generator both will, and won’t, shock you. Please keep your hands on the sphere until our Explainers tell you to let go!
Cow Eye or Flower Dissection (alternating)
Do cows see color? How does a lens work? Examine the intricate structure of a cow eye to learn about similar structures in our own eyes, as well as some key differences.
Stigma, stamen, pistil, anther, style: Uncover the beautiful architecture of flower anatomy, and gather some surprising strategies that plants use to reproduce.
Osher Gallery 1
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.