Saturday, February 22, 2014

Science Museum in the City - Listening Vessels at the Exploratorium (and Pause on Market Street)

Exploratorium - Embarcadero StThe Exploratorium re-opened on Embarcadero St last year but I only went for the first time on Monday which was the President's Day holiday.  Huge mistake! The place was a zoo.

I was able to see a couple of exhibits before I waved the white flag and surrendered to the kids and their parents inundating the place that day. As a consolation, I saw the Listening Vessel which is very similar to a public exhibit on Market St. called Pause.

As a background, the Exploratorium in San Francisco is a museum slash science lab slash exhibit fair. It is where creativity and science intersects. This place is amazing! Whatever you are curious about, chances are, it is explained here. The Exploratorium tickles your imagination at the same time answers everyday life's question. This place is a haven for the creative, tinkerers and the curious minded.

The Exploratorium used to be located next to the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina district of the city. It moved to its new location in Piers 15/17 on Embarcadero St. and re-opened in April 2013.  I went to its new location for the first time on Monday which was also the President's Day holiday. The place was packed! I did make it to a few exhibits. 

The Listening Vessels is one of the few exhibits I was able to observe. The contraption is made of two large parabolic reflectors placed feet apart. The reflectors act as mirrors  to bounce the sound from one side to the other. 
Exploratorium - Listening Vessels 2

When I sat in one of the giant reflectors, I could truly hear the person sitting on the other side loud and clear. Remember, there were people around us so there were loud background noises. Not when you are sitting in one of the reflectors. Also, take note of the distance between the reflectors. Amazing!

Exploratorium - Listening Vessels 1

Practical application? Easy. Our office meetings rooms should be designed like this.

If  you walk on Market St. near Yerba Buena Lane, you've probably seen this artsy object called Pause. Pause is part of LIZ or the Living Innovation Zone program of the city, in partnership with institutions like The Exploratorium and etc, to make use of city owned spaces to express the creative spirit of the city.
Pause Market St - Sign

Same as the Listening Vessel, the sound is reflected from one side to the other by the parabolic discs that act as reflectors. This one, though, is a more artsy version of the Listening Vessel at The Exploratorium.
Pause Market St - Foreground view

Here's another view of the exhibit.
Pause Market St - horizontal view

Here's the back of one of the sides.
Pause Market St - Back view

As always, I am in awe of this city in terms of creativity. It is just bursting with lots and lots of creative juice. I am also thankful for institutions like The Exploratorium and LIZ that make creative use of public spaces.

Mijo and I are members of The Exploratorium so I will be going back there in the next weeks. Of course, I will feature in this blog the next exhibit I'll be putting my hands on. 

Stay tuned.


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