special time

It’s that special time of the year, with holidays, family, and reflections back over the past year and looking forward to the next. As a celebration, we invite you to enjoy these three videos, each of which in its own way examines a special time, from beautiful to funny. Happy Holidays to all.

Beautiful – Into the Atmosphere by Michael Shainblu.  This is a tribute to California that took a whole year to make.




Evocative – Midday Traffic Time Collapsed by Cy Kuckenbaker.  A photographer whose work we’ve discussed before shows us the changing “color palette” of traffic over four minutes in San Diego.



Humor – A commercial for Haynes food products by Cinesite  Sometimes you can have really bad timing.



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new real time data

One of the areas that we believe artist and exhibit designers will continue to explore is the world of using real-time data to provide an understating or awareness of our world today – right now! We previously looked at some earlier examples here in this blog, here. Recently, we’ve run across some new examples to enjoy and consider. The first is http://www.mta.me/ by Alexander Chen.



Here is video from the site:



This experience turns the New York Subway map into a musical instrument which varies depending on when you launch the website because it takes data directly from current subway movements.

The second example is the web site http://onesecond.designly.com/ , designed by designly.com.



We believe that the fascination with understanding the current state of the world, whether it be straightforward or through an artistic expression such as music, relates to a key aspect that museums often struggle with:

How to make a visitor’s next visit truly different from the last time they visited.

One way to respond to this challenge is to explore how to celebrate and present, in both engaging and three-dimensional ways, the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is this very second on the timeline.

What interesting examples of real-time data have you seen? What would you like to see?! Share your ideas here.

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time piece

Sundials are one of the most popular features that museums place outside. They demonstrate astronomical concepts and at times are used to convey anthropological or archeological content as well.  That said, the idea of using shadows to tell time is elegant.

An artist that has taken this to a new level is Conrad Shawcross’ with his new work, Time Piece,  an amazing time installation.






Using the mechanism, lighting, a gnomon which is about thirteen feet high, and the architecture of the London Roundhouse (a steam engine repair shed turned into a cultural venue) the piece is an operating clock.

Not only is this a beautiful piece but the programming the Roundhouse is putting on in conjunction with the piece is compelling as well.

Here is just one artist and their previous performance for another piece:

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance

Sun 11 & Sun 25 Aug, 2pm-5pm / Pay What You Like
Performed interventions from acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor will juxtapose dancers with the installation.

Shawcross’ piece and the Roundhouse points out several things that many institutions might think about. Whether it be sun dials or Foucault pendulums there has always been an interest in presenting the passage of time.

What is clear that imaginative approaches to portraying time will always be fascinating.

Certainly this piece really raises the bar.

In addition, other museums might want to explore the concept of programming around a timepiece. Such programming could allow science museums and similar informal learning environments, which commonly have timepiece devices, to expand how they integrate art/culture content into their offerings. In fact, this simple idea is applicable to many other “signature” pieces – not just time pieces.

What great time pieces have you seen? What kinds of programming have you experienced that expanded on a signature installation? How else does this piece inspire you?



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time views

Something we have been running across has been videos that have been exploring what can be observed  and what becomes apparent of as one looks at a scene/event/through a compressed or extended time period.  For example:

“Departures from San Diego Int Airport Dec 27, 2012” by Cy Kuckenbake


The title provides a self-explanatory interpretation of six hours of aircraft departures at the San Diego International Airport. It is powerful way to make a common everyday experience incredibly amazing as well as impart the scale of a technological activity that occurs every day.

Meanwhile the film “Street” showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by James Nares

This slows down time while also using time as way to transect geographically the city of New York. It allows one to examine the in “moving” detail the incredible complexity of city life.

These experience point how we as experience developers and designers should at times break out of our “in the moment” experiences.

As we look at content and stories one should think how time can be manipulated to bring a new perspective and aid the impact we wish to create.

Let us know what amazing time “pieces” you know of

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Mechanical Interactive Walls

Some of the exhibits that have always seemed to suck us into mesmerizing states of fascination have actually been interactive (and at times non-interactive) large-scale wall experiences. Recently, we have become aware of two that should get your brain turning and will no doubt “spin off” countless ideas. (Pardon the pun, which you’ll understand when you see these.) The first is a work by the design group called Humans Since 1982. This is called “A Million Times.”



















Made with clocks (a subtle time-related experience, connected in this way to the melting piece Calamidad Cósmica), this piece can create messages and depict complex patterns and fields, suggesting many ideas for riffing and evoking many related ideas and aspects. A system like this could be responsive to viewers or to objects such as magnets or other more technological EM transmitters (i.e. cell phones anyone?). This could be a beautiful way to engage people in some complex ideas. On its onw it’s a beautiful, evocative piece.

Another piece we ran across was the experience “Flow 5.0” by Daan Roosegaarde a Dutch artist.



Here, what interests us is that fact that this interactive piece is different than, say, “Pipe Dream” by Bruce Shapiro    


or the work of Daniel Rozin (like this at the Perot Museum).    



“Flow 5.0” actually sends something physical back to the viewer – moving air. This could open up other ideas about what else could touch the viewer/user that they might explore or appreciate.

Certainly, with both the physical and visual interactive and non-interactive wall experiences, there is ample material and inspiration to evoke some truly immersive and memorable museum visits, not to mention make many buildings more engaging.

Let us know about more if you run across them. What ideas do these spin off?

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