After touring the Houston Cistern, we took another tour of it with an art installation completely encompassing it. Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern is a video installation with the video projected from all sides onto and into the cistern while sound plays. I don’t think I can fully explain it other than to say it is really, really cool, and you can read more about it here. The sound sounds likes rain, but it is completely human made sound. The video starts off looking a little like rain falling then becomes something that looks like how Hollywood loves to portray cyberspace. It is incredibly neat to watch, and I love the way takes over the space.
In what is now an annual tradition, the National Building Museum creates a fun, exhibit or installation in which children and adults can play. Last year it was The Beach, and the year before it was The Big Maze. This year, it is Icebergs. The museum’s great hall is filled with structures resembling icebergs, and blue mesh surrounds them to denote the water. The “water line” is about two stories high with the tops of many icebergs popping above it, like real icebergs. The exhibit is complete with an underwater bridge between two icebergs, which leads to two slides. White bean bags are scattered about, so you can sit down and relax.
There is an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery called Wonder that will be leaving soon. It is amazing. One of the pieces in the exhibit is Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1. It took my breath away. I just stood there staring at it wondering how to photograph it properly. Then I photographed it from every angle and every zoom and every focal point I could think of, and I still could not capture the beauty and, well, wonder of it. Below are a few photographs of mine just trying to capture it. I want to go back and stare it some more. It is just thread, yet it is so much more.
Dupont Underground is an abandoned trolley station underneath Dupont Circle that recently had a design competition to reuse a whole lot of plastic balls from National Building Museum’s The Beach. The winning entry was Raise/Raze, which formed the balls into 3 x 3 cubes that were used to build columns and walls in a portion of Dupont Underground. The structures built by the balls were rather interesting, especially when considering they were built with spheres. I also rather liked the way the cube blocks mimicked the tiles on the outer wall of the underground.
There is an art exhibit at the National Academy of Sciences called Sentient Chamber that is unlike anything I have seen before. It reminds me of a gigantic hairy caterpillar. It kind of looks like technology and science based items hung as a chandelier among other items I associate more wind chimes. It is interactive because as people get close and walk through it, lights turn on, sounds are made, and certain items move or vibrate. I really can’t describe, but it is beautiful and interesting to look at. It makes really cool shadows on the ceiling, walls, and on itself. It also makes some really cool reflections in itself.
I went to a reception for a new(-ish) exhibit with the Culture Programs of the National Academy of Sciences. The exhibit are paintings by Jonathan Feldschuh that are inspired by the Large Hadron Collider. The paintings are acrylic on mylar, and they are quite gorgeous. While I’m sure my art-knowledgable friends will correct my terminology, to me, they look like impressionists paintings of very high-tech subjects. I love impressionism art, and of course, I love technology, so I really like these paintings. My friends R, J, and I were discussing this one painting that R and I both rather liked. I said I really like the way the perspective of the pipe or wires going off into the tunnel. I questioned whether it was a pipe or a bundle of wires. This is the conversation that ensued.
R: It’s not a pipe. It’s where the collisions occur.
Me: It’s a pipe then.
R: No, it’s not solid.
Me: Pipes aren’t solid.
R: Yes, but it’s different.
J: It’s more high tech.
Me: It’s a pipe.
R: There aren’t fluids flowing through it. It’s particles flowing through it and colliding.
Me: It’s still a pipe.
R: It’s not a pipe because the particles are in a vacuum.
Me: It’s a pipe. Those things at banks where the little container at the drive through is pushed through a pipe is pushed through a vacuum. It’s still a pipe.
R: [sighs] Ok, it’s a pipe.
It should be noted that according the CERN website, “The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum.” Thus, it’s a pipe. However, in R’s defense, I have a B.S. in chemical engineering, so everything is pretty much a pipe or a tank to me. Also, everything can be fixed with a hammer, but that is another story.
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum was undergoing renovation when we went, so I don’t think we saw all the different exhibits they have. It also was that part of the time I was there I felt like I was walking through a rat maze. In any event, it has some really nice exhibits. However my favorite part was actually the Tiled Kiosk next door. I find the name amusing because when I hear kiosk, I think of a little booth in the mall with someone trying to sell cell phone accessories or some pillow that is going to solve all my health problems. The Tiled Kiosk is pretty though and has walls covered with tile, stained glass windows, and other art.
Today, we visited an icon workshop. They make all the icons by hand, and they showed us all the many steps involved. First, they start with blocks of wood, the type of wood depending on the icon.
The wood is hand carved.
If the icon will have metal on it, the metal is then shaped into the desired form.
All painting is done on canvas, so the canvas is then stretched.
The foil is then added.
Bright powder pigments are used for the paint, and duck egg and vinegar are other ingredients.
The icon is then hand painted.
An example of a beautiful final product.
Currently on display at the National Academy of Sciences is Fundamental Forces by Rebecca Kamen. Fundamental Forces is an exhibition of paintings and sculptures inspired the process of scientific discovery. The title Fundamental Forces refers to fundamental forces in physics: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear interactions, and in my opinion, the exhibit really does provide a lovely representation of those fundamental forces. I loved the wire sculptures in particular as they were visually interesting and also looked like things I had studied in chemistry and physics class. Matter Informing Space reminds me of the Bohr model of the atom. The Doppler Effect is an interesting visualization of the Doppler effect, but it also reminds me of a vortex and the Coriolis effect. The sculptures also play with the light in wonderful ways. The shadows created by the wire sculptures and also Portal are incredibly interesting. If you are in the DC area, the exhibit is open until July 6, and it is free to see, so go.
One of the exhibits, we visited during Cultural Programs of the Natural Academy of Sciences’s #NAS_sciart was Brandon Ballengée: Collapse. Collapse is a huge pyramid of specimen jars that contain species from the Gulf of Mexico that are in decline due to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was interesting to be able to see numerous species up close, even if preserved, that I normally would never see. However, it was sad to think that all these species are in decline or at least affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.