Install day on Market Street: day one

26 October 2013 ·

Dishes and Ribs on Market Street

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The foam dishes are now officially concrete and being polished to a high shine by Concrete Concepts & Design, We’re really happy with their work, nothing leaves the yard that isn’t damn near perfect. Our crack Engineer, Jesse Marsh, has designed and shepherded the dishes through all of these processes.  

We’re also using our friends over on Treasure Island to prepare, fabricate, and assemble large components of the ribbing wall. These stack ups always take a lot of work and preparation, but it’s a great method for creating complex forms with the minimum amount of material. 

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

25 October 2013 ·

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!

The LIZ project is a place making project, which may sound like an architectural or design project, but really it’s about people and their endless ability to surprise themselves and each other. The Exploratorium relies on this kind of open-ended inquiry as a means of engaging people and encouraging them to learn about themselves and the world around them. That’s the kind of installations we’ll be exploring at the first Market Street LIZ site.

Ever wonder what open ended inquiry actually looks like? We have a 3d video monitor here at the museum that visitors can play with. We don’t tell them what to do, in fact, we look to them to surprise us and each other with their investigations. This looks like play, and it is, but really rich, meaningful learning is virtually indistinguishable from play. 

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

18 October 2013 ·

Listening Dishes: Living Innovation Zone

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We’re in the production phase of our largest elements. These are 9 foot tall styrofoam dishes that have been milled on a CNC router (computer controlled cutting machine). The dishes will shipped to the East bay and sprayed with a 3” coating of glass reinforced cement.

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

16 October 2013 ·

Bio Motion Labs

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The Exploratorium team is working with Professor Nicolaus Troje, an intriguing researcher from Queens University, Ontario, Canada who is the Research Chair in Vision and Behavioral Sciences. His team is working on several aspects of visual perception and cognition. Their interest is focused on questions concerning the biology and psychology of social recognition. That is:

. detection of animate agents

. conspecific recognition

. gender recognition

. individual recognition

. recognition of an agent’s actions

. recognition of emotions, personality traits and intentionality

. face recognition

The work is interesting to us at the Exploratorium because it is very much grounded in perception; not What but How we see what we see. Dr. Troje is a remarkable character and his work has redefined research on biological motion perception and turned it from a curiosity into a field that is today covered in any text book and any classroom on visual perception.

We’ve posted this link before, but it’s worth a second look. We’re prototyping ways people can match each other’s body language and better understand the way we perceive and process the world around us.

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Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

28 September 2013 ·

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!

Continuing our development work at Friday’s sketch session. It was great to be joined by Maryanna Rogers from Stanford’s D School who’s students informed our early thinking about the LIZ.

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

21 September 2013 ·

Wind Element: Living Innovation Zone SF

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!image

The Outdoor Studio has done some large installations over the years, one of our favorite was a magnetically coupled kinetic facade of a museum in Livingston, Louisiana, called L.I.G.O. (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory….no way to explain it here, but you can learn more about it here).Given the structure of our wrap around enclosure for Market Street, we’ve been working on extending the parabolic curve of the walls upwards with counterbalanced pendulums driven by the wind and coupled to each other with small magnets. It’s hard to describe the complex motions this thing creates, we’ll post a video of it here as well. 

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Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

17 September 2013 ·

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!

A past project, entitled “Wind Wall,” which we’re rethinking as a way of animating our social structure on Market Street.

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

17 September 2013 ·

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!

Living Innovation Zone Prototypes

We’ve generated a lot of ideas from our Sketch-In event and from our meetings with our project partners who have been coming by the Exploratorium for afternoon sketch sessions. We’re itchy to start building and testing prototypes, so we’re working on a few ideas you can come by and try out later. 

Listening Vessels  We’ve mentioned this one before, and it’s still a front runner for being one of our anchor installations. A piece originally designed and build by one of the Exploratorium’s foundational artists, Doug Hollis, Two 8’ tall parabolic dishes focus sound from a person setting in two dishes. Facing each other across a 50’ walkway of people and street noise, users can talk or even whisper easily and have a private moment together…actually, not that private, anyone walking through the sound stream will get a mildly surprising burst of amplified voices. 

Body Language  We found this research on-line and have since contacted and partnered with Dr. Niko Troje of Queens University located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Troje is an expert in biological motion perception and has developed a fascinating tool that allows users to replicate the body language of others in real time. Using just 15 dots, his team isolated the body language characteristics for happy people, relaxed people, anxious people, sad people, males and females and created a kind of shorthand tool for recreating the way these types of people characteristically carry themselves. We’ll feature more about Dr. Troje’s work, but for now, take a look at their wonderful demo on-line. 

Height Equalizer  This is a simple idea we want to try out in front of the museum. Blocks are stacked up at 1” increments in an array such that people of varying heights are encouraged to array themselves so that they see eye to eye. There’s a lot of height variation in our daily lives, what happens to the interpersonal dynamic when everyone is the same height? This might be too simple, but it’s so easy to try we’re going to, well, try it.

Personal Space  We’ve been experimenting with a Personal Space exhibit for years. It’s intriguing because the way we navigate social spaces is very much a part of our own individual cultures and upbringing. Examining the issues of personal space by playing with the layout of benches, or perhaps a map of a bus painted on the ground at scale, allows us to instrument our observations and figure out why no one looks each other in the eye on Muni (hint, none of us can really stand being that close to each other). 

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

11 September 2013 ·

Help us bring the Living Innovation Zone to life by donating here or sharing the project with your social networks!

We’re moving forward with modeling some ideas for the space, playing with scale and placement. We’re primarily using 3d Studio Max and Autodesk’s Inventor to draw, tweak, and then output DWG files for the laser cutter. We’ll be working with these models along with full scale prototypes in our public spaces. Together, they’ll help guide our thinking and allow for more useful user-feedback.

Unlike our usual exhibits, it’s tough to prototype architecture. People respond to a site at all scales, all at once. Market Street has so much going on, so many points of contact and ways of surrounding you. We need to interrupt that freeway-like flow of predictably programmed space (shop, street, tree, street, car, bus, train) while enticing people to slow down a bit, and take particular notice of others, the world around them, as well as themselves. 

Tomorrow, we’ll post the leading exhibit ideas we’re readying for testing, so stay tuned.

Help the Exploratorium create San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone, a public space experiment and community benefit project on Market St. www.exploratorium.edu/livinginnovationzone

9 September 2013 ·

LIVING INNOVATION ZONE

San Francisco's first Living Innovation Zone:
http://liz.innovatesf.com/