After Dark: RGB

Thursday, July 2, 2015 • 6:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15

$15 General; $10 Members; Free for Lab Members

Adults Only (18+)

Note: A ticket to Thursday evening adult-only hours does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. Tickets for limited-capacity programs will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

While others look to the red, white, and blue this month, we’ll be flying the additive colors of red, green, and blue, found in all of your little electronic devices and capable of creating a rainbow of millions of colors. This month, we take these three primary colors of light and riff on them musically, scientifically, artistically—and beyond. At After Dark: RGB, explore color and chemistry, learn surprising things about white light, and get a crash-course in making color while listening to great music. 

Download Program (pdf)


Red + Green Don't Make Yellow with Ken Finn 
8:00 p.m.  |  Bay Observatory Gallery
In 1666, Isaac Newton managed to name seven colors he found in the Sun's light, and nearly 350 years later we were all atwitter about a dress that was both gold and white and blue and black. This entertaining talk about color will throw some light on the yin and yang of additive and subtractive color mixing, as well as how our eye perceives color. Come and see how different colors combine to create remarkable results.

Museum educator Ken Finn works with students, visitors, and museum staff to explore the world of phenomena presented by our exhibit collection. He has been noticing, pondering, and sharing thoughts about light and color at the Exploratorium since 1986.

Caminos Flamencos with Yaelisa, Jason McGuire, Clara Rodriguez, and Jose Blanco
8:30 and 9:00 p.m.  |  Kanbar Forum
Revel in the spirit and energy of RGB—as embodied by the music and movement of flamenco! While enjoying this beautiful live performance, picture the low frequency and long waves of red, the increased energy of green, and the fast pulse of blue.

Yaelisa is the internationally recognized cofounder and artistic director of the annual New World Flamenco Festival. Jason "El Rubio" McGuire is the musical director of the New World Flamenco Festival, one of the top U.S. flamenco festivals. Clara Rodriguez has performed at such esteemed venues as The Palace of Fine Arts, War Memorial Opera House, and YBCA. Jose Manuel “El Grillu” Blanco is an accomplished guitar player, producer, arranger, composer, writer, cantaor, and percussionist.

RGB Fireworks with Ron Hipschman
8:30 pm  |  Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio
Come ooooo and ahhhh at the science behind these big booms! Where do fireworks come from? Who invented them? What causes their beautiful red, green, and blue colors, and how do the bursting shells create such different patterns? Join us for some real illumination, and learn the difference between a jerb and a lance.

Ron Hipschman has worn many hats since he joined the Exploratorium in 1971, including creating its first website—among the first 600 in the world. He’s currently responsible for the museum’s web, streaming media, and digital asset management servers.

Color for the Color Blind with EnChroma
6:30–9:30 p.m.  |  Central Gallery
Do you experience color blindness or know someone who does? Try on these glasses and see a more vibrant world. A person with red-green color blindness experiences the world differently than a person who can see the full spectrum, because their red and green photopigments overlap more than most people’s.

EnChroma, a Berkeley-based company, emerged out of an NIH-funded grant to study the feasibility of enhancing color vision in humans, particularly the color blind. Comprising researchers, engineers, and tech experts, as well as an advisory board of world-renowned vision scientists, EnChroma is working to develop innovative eyewear using cutting-edge optical technology.

Shadow Play by Maz Kattuah
6:00–10:00 p.m.  |  West Gallery
Come build a sculpture with everyday objects and see its amazing shadows projected onto the wall in colored lights. Shadow Play, which uses simple materials, motion, and light sources to create a kinetic light-and-shadow vignette, was a prototype for our collaboration with the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Maz Kattuah has been developing exhibits for the Exploratorium for over a decade (last month he dangled a motorcycle from a block of ice).

Electromagnetic Spectrum Walk: A Self-Guided Tour
6:00–10:00 p.m.  |  Throughout the museum
When you think of light, you probably think of what your eyes can see, but that’s just a tiny, roadside attraction compared to the vast highway that makes up the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS)—because from radio waves to gamma rays, most of the light in the universe is, in fact, invisible to us. But walk down our Central Corridor and you’ll experience a scaled-up version of the EMS, with stops along the way at exhibits that will help you explore these various electromagnetic phenomena.

Making Paints and Pigments with Alex Warren
6:30–9:30 p.m.  |  West Gallery
Learn the science behind making red, green, and blue paint. Find out about the origins of various pigments, how to mix paint properly with different paint binders, and how to achieve certain colors through color mixing. Create an image with the freshly made paint.

After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute, Alex Warren founded Sinopia Pigments and Materials, a global provider of raw pigments—which artists, contractors, and conservationists use to make paint, tint concrete and plaster, and recreate historical colors—as well as all-natural milk paint.

Critters in Living Color with Classroom Safari
6:30–9:30 p.m.  |  South Gallery
Red snakes, green insects, and blue frogs! Come learn about how different animals have evolved to be all shades and hues.

Bonnie Cromwell has presented animal programs through her Classroom Safari Educational Adventures for about 38 years. She is on the Board of Directors for The Petaluma Wildlife Museum and has served on the board of North Bay Herpetological Society.

Live-From-the-Galapagos Webcast: Exploring the Deep Sea with Exploration Vessel Nautilus with Mary Miller and the Nautilus Crew
7:00 p.m.  |  Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio

Catch up with the Exploration Vessel Nautilus in a live webcast as it explores a part of the Galapagos that Darwin never saw: deep-sea ocean communities of red tube worms that thrive in toxic vent fumes more than a mile below the vivid blue ocean’s surface. We’ll find out why they have bright red plumes and why the ocean is green in some parts of the world and blue in others.

The E/V Nautilus is part of Ocean Exploration Trust, an organization led by Dr. Bob Ballard, who helped discover the Titantic and the first deep-sea communities of the Galapagos Rift Zone. E/V Nautilus explores remote depths, sharing its discoveries in real time through deep-diving ROVs and HD cameras.

Cow Eye Dissection with the Explainers
6:00, 7:00, and 9:00 p.m.  |  East Gallery
Do cows see red, green, and blue? Join the Explainers in the East Gallery as they dissect a cow eye to learn the answer to this and other questions about how we see light and color.

Flower Dissection with the Explainers
6:30, 7:30, and 9:30 p.m.  |  East Gallery
From the green leaves to the red and blue petals and the pollen-generating anther, to the style and the stigma—come take apart a flower, and learn about the parts and processes that flowers use to create new life.

Drawing Board with the Explainers
6:00–9:30 p.m.  |  West Gallery
Select your favorite hues of red, green, and blue and use this pendulum to explore the magic of physics. Take home your own piece of art! The intricate patterns you’ll create illustrate how friction steadily dissipates the energy of a moving object. Tickets, passed out starting at 6:00 p.m., go fast!

Color, Baby, Light My Laser with the Explainers
6:00–10:00 p.m.  |  Central Gallery
Unlike other light sources, lasers emit light of exactly one color or wavelength rather than many, and all of the waves line up. And because the waves are aligned, you can aim a narrow, focused beam. Find out just how lasers get their colors—and join the Explainers in aiming these beams of pure colors.

Fireworks in a Bottle and Viscous Patterns with the Explorables
7:00–10:00 p.m.  |  East Corridor
Miscibility, density, and color mixing: what does it all add up to? A fluid fireworks show in a bottle! Join the Explorables to put chemistry in action for your amusement and edification. And what happens when you combine rubber cement with red, green, and blue coloring between two plastic disks? Does your creation look like a dendrite or a Hele-Shaw cell? Talk about it with Explorables and keep your disks!

Explorables has been offering science to go since 1990.

Primary Vision: Experiments in Color Process
7:00 p.m.  |  Kanbar Forum
Red, green, and blue: These primary colors of light add up to the myriad hues brightening computer, television, and smartphone screens. They’re also the foundation of color film experimentation and a source of inspiration for creative cinema artists. Join us for a vibrant program of unusual and unexpected film color drawn from classic formats (three-strip Technicolor), historical rarities (Gasparcolor), and inventive new techniques. See celluloid images separated into RGB through lenses, filters, dyes, and elaborate technical processes, and then recombined into dazzling, artistic visions. Presented entirely on 16mm film!

Hand Held Day (1975, 16mm, 6 min.) by Gary Beydler
45 7 Broadway (2013, 16mm, 5 min.) Tomonari Nishikawa
Rainbow Dance (1941, 16mm, 4 min.) by Len Lye
Composition in Blue (1935, 35mm, 4 min.) by Oskar Fischinger

Find the multiple exhibits for each wavelength along the Electromagnetic Spectrum Walk.

Buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended; door sales are limited. Tickets for limited-capacity programs will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Experience life After Dark, an evening series exclusively for adults that mixes cocktails, conversation, and playful, innovative science and art events.

Not a theater, cabaret, or gallery, After Dark contains aspects of all three. Each evening showcases a different topic—from music to sex to electricity—but all include a cash bar and film screenings, plus an opportunity to play with our hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Join us and mingle with inventive scientists, artists, musicians, programmers, and designers. Enjoy live performances, provocative films, interesting music, cutting-edge technology, unexpected extravaganzas, and more, depending on each evening's lineup. And all night long, delicious nibbles and outrageous bay views are available at the SeaGlass restaurant. Leave the kids at home and meet friends or take a date. Where else can you find an intellectually stimulating playground for adults?

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