I've been hot on the trail of finding new communities and places to start getting my DIY chops back into my life for the past few months. I was looking at the talented Erik Johnson's (@LEDsuit and artfuture vid) list of places he had shown his amazing wearable interlinked LED technology and saw Exploratorium: After Dark.
Clicking through I was delighted to see that one of my favorite places year's ago - The Exploratorium has found the perfect connection with grown-ups via their themed After Dark series. The February theme was Heartworks and had as its mascots a little figure of a rat tied to a rubber duckie, balanced on a tinker toy extension - obviously a part of some mysterious machine. Nice!
Intrigued to be let loose in the Exploratorium at night and enjoy the exhibits, I didn't hit the Buy Tickets button until the moment I saw the Tinkering Studio and their project - to create a perpetual motion Love Machines Chain Reaction. You mean I get to BUILD something? I'm in.
It was great to get a chance to wander through some of my old favorites upstairs in the sound exhibits and movement exhibits downstairs before my friend arrived.
Once Alexa arrived, we stocked up at the bar and cafe (nachos were awesome) and then had some fun in the color and light exhibits until we were to report for the 2nd building period at 7:30 pm.
One of the most fun exhibits was the interactive video wall. Here's the video that Alexa shot of me moving in front of it. And you can see a more abstract video that I shot while I was moving in front of the wall.
We later learned that it would have been a better idea to check in as soon as we got there if we were really intent on doing a lot of building. When we got there the only table left was the very last one - with a duck and a rat. I saw a really thick rope on the goodies table and Alexa found a boot, a ladel and some tall wood. Because we started so late, we ended up simply creating a pendulum that would swing to hit the final two pieces of wood.
I was really stressing out on the last issue of getting the duck to sit on the piece of wood, when Alexa recognized one of the Tinkering Studio volunteers - none other than our old friend Michael Brown (Blue Rain and Playaflies) came to the rescue. It was so much fun to get it working even though it ended up sticking when it's turn came. We did too good a job holding up the duck! Ah well, the magic finger helped it through and on we went to the finale.
Enjoy the video of the entire run of the love machine complements of The Tinkering Studio!
All in all - it was an amazing evening of play. Thanks Exploratorium: AFTER DARK crew. You did a wonderful job. I certainly will be grateful when it's easier to get over to you via public transit in 2013!