September 2013

Hidden Messages

One element of our exhibition field that is often forgotten as a potential interactive or spark for exploration and inquiry is two-dimension graphics. This is unfortunate, as graphics, when used in imaginative ways, can make for striking or inspirational ideas. Here are two examples.

The first is a work by the artist Geert Mul called Exponential View.





This piece, which is in the Netherlands, reveals and makes visible a series of images related to the location of the tunnel, which is where the Dutch scientist and astronomer Christiaan Huygens lived. The fact that he proposed the wave theory of light makes it apropos that different wavelengths of light are used to create this experience. Certainly this idea could be used in smaller and more distributed ways.

The second example comes from members of the Home Depot Community – Nathan Sharratt and Dana0814.

















These images show some of the interesting effects that can be made by using NeverWet, a spray that repels water.

Imagine using this effect in a water table area or a fountain. All it would take is one visitor to discover the first hidden message and then use water to find others. (This, of course, might make a mess, but, wow, talk about inspiring exploration!)

These two examples show different ways graphics can be used to create engagement and inspire visitor exploration.

What interesting examples have you seen? What new ideas do you have for how technology can make graphics more interesting and memorable?

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Drawing Part Deux – Randomness

Last week our weekly inspiration looked at how a robot could translate one’s drawing into sound and music. This week we ran across an interesting drawing experience that made us think about riffing on more common drawing experiences found in science centers.

Below are images and a video of the Olafur Eliasson’s “connecting cross country with a line.” This is part of the project “Station to Station”








This experience of recording seemingly random movement along a train line using an ink ball reminded us here in the studio of the less random but similar in its “recording of forces” of a common science center exhibit the harmonograph. Here is a picture of one from Questacon in Canberra, Australia.




What this got us to thinking is what other common or perhaps not so common exhibits might we riff on and remove constraints to allow visitors to explore “randomness.” the idea of finding patterns in randomness is a key in the fields of science, engineering and math.

We believe that might make a wonderful direction to explore in a series of exhibits.

Of course we should mention that we also think it’s really cool to do exhibits on a train – that would be fun to do too!

What other “randomness” exhibits do you think might make up such an exhibition? Share them with us!

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drawing sound

One of the more interesting effects of the merger between the digital and physical worlds is our ability to “read’ or “interpret” various mediums into completely different forms and to do so with simplicity and elegance.

A perfect example of this is the Colour Chaser, by Yuri Suzuki. While originally conceived in 2010, it recently was expanded to become an interactive sensor, sound and robotic installation called Looks Like Music for the Mudam, or Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.




Here, as you can see, visitors can draw their own paths of color to engage the robot and, in essence, create a musical march for the robot. The simplicity of the approach, the straightforwardness of the interactive outcomes, and the possible creativity all make this incredibly attractive. It incorporates and engages science and art simultaneously.

Here is an example of something we might seek to embed in more technological exhibits in our field -

the idea of not trying to burden every exhibit with the full story but rather to create more exhibits that break the digital/physical interplay into bite-sized chunks…. discrete experiential chunks that can “sing” through a simpler design.

Where have you seen examples like this? How do you imagine using techniques like this to expand the possibilities?





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