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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.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Join us for a screening and conversation between artists Tristan Duke and Richard Tuohy. Sharing a practice in experimental photochemical processing technique and the illusory potential of physics, they’ll discuss their handmade approaches to creating films and photographic works. And they’ll delve into where and how Duke’s work in handmade holograms and Tuohy’s interest in sensory film performance intersect. Led in conversation by Exploratorium educator Paul Dancstep, the talk will be punctuated by a screening from each artist.
Ziggurat by Tristan Duke (2010, 20 min.)
After an ominous dream, the filmmaker and his teacher depart for the San Luis Valley in search of the Ziggurat—a journey that will lead both to confront their own mortality. Shot in the course of two days on 16mm film, using a homemade pinhole camera, the film is a metaphysical documentary that explores the desolate spiritual landscape of Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
Cyclone Tracery by Richard Tuohy (2018, 15 min.)
In this world premiere, a single film print, featuring only concentric circles is bipacked in two 16mm projectors. Through this approach, the film takes on a complex depth, developing rapidly shifting patterns, shifts, and perceptual illusions.
Tristan Duke is an artist with a deep interest in the science of optics and visual perception. Seeking to invent new forms of visual representation, in 2014, he invented a holographic technology to create the first ever hand-drawn holographic record for Jack White’s album Lazaretto and has gone on to create many more. He is a cofounding member of the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio. His work has been exhibited internationally. He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium.
Richard Tuohy is one of the most active experimental film artists currently working on celluloid. He is the founder of Nanolab, a specialist small-gauge film-processing laboratory in Australia. He actively encourages other artists to work with film through his Artist Film Workshop initiative and is a founding director of the Australian International Experimental Film Festival. His work has screened extensively at festivals and museums around the world.
Paul Dancstep grew up in San Diego but has never been on a surfboard. He studied physics in college but is still baffled by things like zippers. He's been at the Exploratorium for the last decade, building boxes, changing lightbulbs, and occasionally speaking to the public.
Image from Richard Tuohy's Dot Matrix.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Join us for robust presentations, refreshing conversations, and sample tastings designed to inspire your scientific palate.
Learn more about the series, Pairings: Cultivating a Taste for Science Through Food.
Tea and coffee are the world’s most consumed drinks—and they both contain the world’s most-consumed psychoactive drug, the alkaloid caffeine.
Get a deeper understanding of tea with Rich Avella, co-owner of Highwire Coffee Roasters and founder of 4track tea. He’ll discuss different types of teas, describe the influence of aromatics, and divulge how time and temperature make all the difference in steeping tea.
Exploratorium Senior Scientist Julie Yu and Chef Kevin Godes present a coffee rub and braising techniques, while Clay Reynolds shares a history of the White Russian cocktail and explains how to make homemade Kahlua.
Please note: Seating and tastings are limited to 140 ticketed guests.
Rich Avella is co-owner of Highwire Coffee Roasters and founder of 4track tea. He’s been in the coffee and tea business since 1990. and spent 20 years at Peet's Coffee and Tea, working alongside legendary figures in the industry and training many future coffee and tea leaders along the way.
Clay Reynolds, co-owner of Seaglass Restaurant and host of Pairings, continues to bring fresh, healthy, and local fare to the Exploratorium’s Seaglass Restaurant and Seismic Joint Café.
Ever since his early career in organic chemistry evolved into a love of kitchen alchemy, Seaglass chef Kevin Godes welcomes opportunities to share his excitement about food and raise public awareness around food-related issues.
Food lover Julie Yu is Senior Scientist in the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, where she works with teachers to create hands-on activities that demonstrate real science with the simplest materials possible.
Cowboy Spice Mix
¼ cup instant espresso, such as Medaglia d'oro
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (Dutch-processed is best for a darker color and richer taste)
1 tbsp. smoked paprika (chili powder or Aleppo pepper also work well)
1 tbsp. finely ground toasted coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tbsp. kosher salt
Think of any scenario. Put it into five words or less. Now watch as artist PNosa interprets your words and uses a sewing machine to draw the resulting image on fabric.
Embroidered patches will be available for purchase.
PNosa is a sewing artist who draws with a sewing machine (without a computer or a template) powered by a solar panel and a bicycle electric generator. Paul is on a sewing tour across America facilitating people's creativity and demonstrating alternative energy sources.
Osher Gallery 1
Take an excursion through total darkness in our Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes.
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.
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.
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.