Friday, July 15, 2011

all work and plenty of play

So we just opened a big exhibition at the museum and you could say our exhibit department is suffering through the usual post-partum depression that comes with the culmination of any long-term project like this. Plus it's summertime. We're burnt out and distracted. One way we've been staying inspired is by playing. Here in Silicon Valley, the toy that we've become a little obsessed with is this technological marvel: the overhead projector.

Here we're set up in the bubble exhibit with a bucket of soapy water on the deck of the projector. It couldn't be simpler, but for some reason it's irresistible. This two-and-a-half-year-old was utterly captivated- when it was time to go his mother had to literally drag him away.

And it's just as irresistible for the grown-ups upstairs in the offices. Below, exhibit developer Sara DeAngelis has set up her overhead projector, playing patterns of light on a translucent window between her office and the education department's offices.

Each new thing she places on the projector is met with oohs and ahs and "what's that?!"s from the other side of the wall. Everyone has to come peek in and see what's going on and once they see, everyone wants to come play in Sara's office.

We each bring over all sorts of odd materials to experiment with and watch the results. We ask each other, "What do you think this is?" "Why am I getting this effect?" and "I wonder what would happen if..." It's started a playful dialogue between the departments and reminded us all of the value of curiosity and a sense of wonder.

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