Travel Tuesday: Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

If you have seen my Instagram posts, you know I’m still a little giddy from my visit to the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco with my mom (who normally lives in in hometown of Chicago) and my sister who lives in San Rafael. Both my sisters and my mom had also visited the Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles, but I hadn’t been able to join in, so I was happy to hear that they were opening up a second location of this pop up museum in San Fran.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy
The tickets sold out in a flash but I was super lucky in not only getting into the website but getting the perfect weekend when my mom would be in town and one of a few weekends my sister didn’t already have booked until 2018 (seriously, her schedule…). And, we got tickets for the first entrance at 11 AM (they are timed tickets) which incredibly let our group of the first 12 ticket holders in line be the first into every room and almost felt like a private visit since other groups didn’t catch up to us.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Franciso

If you haven’t heard of the Museum of Ice Cream (or MOIC) before, it started out its initial incarnation in New York, and then closed and opened up in Los Angeles. While the Los Angeles run is still going on in LA after several extensions, a second location in San Francisco also opened, and is the newest incarnation. Each location is a little different, though the theme always includes lots of samples of ice creams and a sprinkle pool. When it comes to each individual room themes and how they are set up and what sweet artwork they feature though, they may vary.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

Here’s a look at the rooms in the San Francisco version. Be aware that if you come, you must already have purchased tickets ahead of time (none are available at the door). There is only one restroom area and it’s in the middle of the museum, and when you go through the museums you can only go forward, not back to any rooms you have previously left.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

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Visiting Gekkeikan Sake

Last week I highlighted in Folsom checking out the Folsom Prison Museum. This time I’m highlighting another local sight – and it’s free! This stop is to do a self-guided tour of the sake brewery and enjoy free limited sampling of the sake at Gekkeikan Sake. Located at 1136 Sibley Street in Folsom, they are open 9 AM – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and 11 AM – 3 PM on the second Saturday of the month. A visit will probably take about an hour or less.
Gekkeikan Sake USA was founded in Folsom in 1989, its first brewing facility outside of Japan and you can do a free self guided tour of the brewery and try sake samples here. This is located at 1136 Sibley Street in Folsom

Gekkeikan was founded in 1637 in Japan, though the name Gekkeikan was not established until 1905. Gekkeikan USA was founded in Folsom in 1989, its first brewing facility outside of Japan. Folsom was selected because of its access to quality air and water from the American River and rice from the rice fields in the Central Valley and nearby Sacramento Valley.

To do the self guided brewery tour, you will have to walk through the first building because the door to the brewery is in the second building in the back. You will turn around to retrace your steps and walk back this way to visit the sake tasting room on the way out back to the parking lot. Restrooms are also located only in this first building. In this hallway, you can get a quick overview of the brewing process – both the traditional way in a display case with figures and on the wall a summary of the high level manufacturing process.
Figures showing the multiple steps in the process of brewing sake, in a display case when visiting Gekkeikan USA in Folsom Figures showing the multiple steps in the process of brewing sake, in a display case when visiting Gekkeikan USA in Folsom Gekkeikan SakeUSA was founded in Folsom in 1989, its first brewing facility outside of Japan and you can do a free self guided tour of the brewery and try sake samples here. This is located at 1136 Sibley Street in Folsom

Between the two buildings outside, you can enjoy some of the atmosphere of the landscaping with reflecting pond and koi pond before entering the brewery building.
A look at the peaceful setting at Gekkeikan Sake USA in Folsom with the landscape and koi pond A look at the peaceful setting at Gekkeikan Sake USA in Folsom with the landscape and koi pond A look at the peaceful setting at Gekkeikan Sake USA in Folsom with the landscape and koi pond

The self guided tour of the brewery is essentially just one long hallway, with windows and signs next to them looking into different parts of their equipment and process sequentially, from first starting with the uncooked rice all the way down to the bottling and packing for shipment. Here are a few photos from that tour.
Hallway for the free self guided tour with windows and signs next to them looking into different parts of their equipment and process sequentially, from first starting with the uncooked rice all the way down to the bottling and packing for shipment at the Gekkkeikan Sake Brewery in Folsom While self touring the brewery facility at Gekkeikan, you learn about the koji making process. Part of the steamed rice is used to make koji by cooling the steamed rice to 80 degrees, then spreading aspergillus oryzae which is fed into a state of the art computer controlled koji making machine to adjust temperature and humidity to optimal conditions. Within 2 days, the koji will be produced. In order to make sake, two highly effective micro-organisms are utilized- aspergillus oryzae and yeast. The former is used to produce a saccharifying enzyme which converts rice starch to dextrose.

There are certainly a lot of similarities to beer brewing. Like beer, sake is fermented multiple times (for instance, wine is fermented only once) to convert sugar to alcohol. Both are grain based (rice for sake obviously vs barley and other grains like rye, etc. for beer) and yeast is needed to convert dextrose into alcohol. However, to get dextrose, for sake brewing koji is used to produce a saccharifying enzyme which converts rice starch to dextrose.
Free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom - this portion is the seed mash process, where a large quantity of yeast is needed to convert dextrose into alcohol. Seed mash is made by adding water, steamed rice, and koji to a small amount of yeast Free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom - this portion is the lab where they are testing and doing quality control

I was mesmerized by the bottling – lining up and riding along to where they get filled, capped, and then labeled to then be put in boxes.
Bottling process for the sake that can be seen during the free self guided brewery tour at Gekkkeikan Sake in Folsom, California Bottling process for the sake that can be seen during the free self guided brewery tour at Gekkkeikan Sake in Folsom, California Bottling process for the sake that can be seen during the free self guided brewery tour at Gekkkeikan Sake in Folsom, California Bottling process for the sake that can be seen during the free self guided brewery tour at Gekkkeikan Sake in Folsom, California

This short video is the first part of the line with the empty bottles in the front but in the back you can see the line loops back around in a U and the sake workers are preparing to package them

Here’s a video where I zoom in a bit and you can see the empty bottles lining up then being filled with sake, and then as it goes into the second circle it gets capped!

Then return to the tasting room where you can see choose 5 of their sake portfolio to sample and look at other Japanese decor.
After the free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom return to the tasting room where you can see choose 5 of their sake portfolio to sample and look at other Japanese decor. After the free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom return to the tasting room where you can see choose 5 of their sake portfolio to sample and look at other Japanese decor. After the free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom return to the tasting room where you can see choose 5 of their sake portfolio to sample and look at other Japanese decor. After the free self tour of the sake brewing process at Gekkeikan Sake in Folsom return to the tasting room where you can see choose 5 of their sake portfolio to sample and look at other Japanese decor. Tasting room at Gekkeikan Sake USA in Folsom. Kagami-biraki is a ceremony performed at celebratory events in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet and the sake is served to everyone present. Kagami refers to the lid of the sake barrel and biraki means to open. Because of the round shape, the kagami is a symbol of harmony and kagami-biraki represents an opening to harmony and good fortune

Gekkkeikan Sake is one of I think a dozen US locations of sake brewing in the US. If you are a fellow Oregon citizen like me right now, you can also tour and taste at Sake One in Forest Grove, but otherwise you might be able to visit a couple others in California. Not all sake breweries are open for tours or tastings. For another way to try tasting a lot of sakes, I also want to encourage you to look into Sake Fest PDX– I wrote a post about last year’s Sake Fest earlier this year, and expect another post next year about how the 2016 Sake Fest experience was a bit closer to its date for 2017, June 11, 2017 5:30-9 PM at the Oregon Convention Center!

Finally, one of my favorite things I learned while sampling sake is that their website has a free Gekkkeikan sake cookbook with recipes! During Thanksgiving a Japanese guest brought rice cooked with sake and mushrooms and we loved it, and I can’t wait to do a little more cooking with sake soon.

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Visiting Folsom Prison Museum

Today’s Travel Tuesday post is still in California, but this time we move from the Bay area and the Digital Space and Future Parks exhibit or Floating Homes of Sausalito to an area just  30 minutes northeast outside of Sacramento. If you’ve ever heard of Folsom at all, it most likely is because of Johnny Cash and his song Folsom Prison Blues. He performed and recorded this song at Folsom Prison on the album At Folsom Prison. I have been to the city of Folsom multiple times as part of my job, but it was only recently when my meeting schedule had enough of an opening if I skipped lunch to finally make it to the Folsom Prison Museum.

The large keys used at Folsom Prison on display at the Folsom Prison Museum Lock from a Folsom Prison Railroad Gate - on display when visiting Folsom Prison Museum.

The museum is open everyday except major holidays from 10 AM – 4 PM and is on the grounds of the Folsom State Prison (which is still in use) as well as California State Prison – Sacramento. Located on300 S Folsom Prison Road, after turning onto the road go straight to the end where the old Folsom prison is at the end of the road and parking lot is to the left – do not make right turns as that takes you to the California State Prison / New Folsom Prison.

After parking in the large visitors parking lot you will head past the visitor registration building (which is for visiting prisoners) through the first gate to a small house/building on the right hand side called Historic House #8 just after the gate, a bit uphill away from the actual famous granite walls of the prison. You will probably pass a few guards at least by that first gate who can also help direct you.

You may see signs about no photography, but cameras are fine inside the museum. For the bargain admission of $2 cash per person (children under 12 are free) which you hand to the retired correctional officer, you are treated to a very small but dense amount of artifacts from the long history of Folsom State Prison.

When the prison first opened in 1880 it didn’t have walls! Only guard towers and lines drawn in the ground and the intimidation and authority of the prison guards – a few with guns, but most just with clubs. On display in one case is a World War 1 30 caliber water cooled machine gun. This gun was used for enforcement in the window of the armory until the 1950s. It was fired in a short burst on the first day of each month both to keep it operational and for the psychological effect.
On display while visiting Folsom Prison Museum - a World War 1 30 caliber water cooled machine gun. This gun was used for enforcement in the window of the armory until the 1950s. It was fired in a short burst on the first day of each month both to keep it operational and for the psychological effect.

An onsite quarry was used to source granite that the prisoners used to craft the famous Folsom Prison walls which were finally completed 40 years later. It was also around that time that prison cells first got air holes (!) drilled into their solid iron doors, which until then only had eye slots. Before electricity, prisoners had to carefully conserve their candlestick and oil lamp to last both for light and warmth in their cold stone walled dirt ground 4 by 8 foot cells.

There’s a grim part of the history here. This was the site of executions, riots, violence leading to inmate and guard deaths, and for even after death, prisoners were buried here at an onsite graveyard marked with a headstone they or a prisoner friend could carve. You can’t see the graveyard (it’s by a rifle range) but you can hear about how its original location was buried apparently too close to Folsom Dam. Definitely you can also wonder about how many ghosts haunt the area.
Hanging Ropes from executions. A new rope is used for each execution as no rope could be used twice due to the difference in the weight and height of each condemned man. After its use, the rope was tagged with the man's convict number and stored. From a display case while visiting the Folsom Prison Museum

It’s not all morbid though – you can read about various escape attempts (such as one with a homemade diving suit though ok that is a bit dark since it was fatally unsuccessful), and see photos from prison life back then, including photos when convicts first arrive at the prison and after they are in their stripes. You can also see a lot of the art, such as a 8 foot high Ferris wheel crafted out of 250,000 toothpicks in 10 months as part of a toothpick circus. Some art is not even not that old – for instance the potato chip purse and potato chip baby boots. This Prison Folk Art used to be made with cigarette pack wrappers but when tobacco products became illegal in prison by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and since gum wrappers are also illegal since they can jam up locks or be used as molds, prisoners started using potato chip bags. Other objects made include picture frames and bracelets.
8 foot high Ferris wheel crafted out of 250,000 toothpicks in 10 months as part of a toothpick circus by prisoner Billy Burk. The ferris wheel at least is on display at the Folsom Prison Museum 8 foot high Ferris wheel crafted out of 250,000 toothpicks in 10 months as part of a toothpick circus by prisoner Billy Burk. The ferris wheel at least is on display at the Folsom Prison MuseumCreativity blooms with limited supplies but lots of time by the various prisoners at Folsom Prison - on display when visiting Folsom Prison Museum. This is a Con Kid Collectible, each are numbered. Creativity blooms with limited supplies but lots of time by the various prisoners at Folsom Prison - on display when visiting Folsom Prison Museum. This is a potato chip purse and potato chip baby boots, Prison Folk Art used to be made with cigarette pack wrappers but when tobacco products became illegal in prison, and since gum wrappers are also illegal since they can jam up locks or be used as molds, prisoners started using potato chip bags. Other objects made include picture frames and bracelets. width=

There are also inventions in several display cases. Yes these include  weapons including a spear made out of wrapping tight soapy wet newspaper, but also basic like ways to heat food like a homemade toaster and a brick hot plate. It all really is a testament how creative men with limited resources but lots of time can devise both as a hobby or for functional use.
Weapons crafted by prisoners, from shivs to spears made by using rolled up wet soapy newspapers in a display at Folsom Prison Museum Prisoner Homemade Toaster on display when visiting Folsom Prison Museum

There’s a whole small room about music and movies (including Johnny Cash) that also houses a fake cell with an animatronic Sam the prisoner who tells you about life in Folsom Prison. Another room has a lot of details about a prison escape attempt and plays a video which lets you visit some of the cell blocks and other areas outside the museum and get a little trivia. You definitely learn a lot of trivia overall visiting this museum. Did you know that there is farm portion of Folsom Prison that helps provide crops for the meals here? Or that since the 1930s Folsom Prison is where California state license plates are made, as well as street signs?
When visiting Folsom Prison, you can meet an animatronic Sam the prisoner who tells you about life in Folsom Prison Thanksgiving Day Menu on November 27, 1980 for the prisoners, at the Folsom Prison Museum

If you have time, take the time to definitely chat with whoever the retired guard is watching over the museum during your visit – there’s so much to read and see and they can definitely share stories or point you to where you can get more details about it in the museum.

A visit if you carefully read everything and watch the video may be about 1.5 hours. There is a lot packed into the small facility – the admission fee is helping to raise money for a larger building and Big House Prison Museum where they can show even more of the history which can’t fit into the house now, including I think a train that is part of another escape attempt. For now, the museum is basically 4 rooms on the first floor, plus a few artifacts scattered right outside the door and in the yard, so it can really utilize an expansion.  The new museum will also house videos, artifacts, and other memorabilia from correctional institutions all in the US and around the world. There are not many prison museums, so if you are in the Sacramento or Folsom area it is definitely an interesting and informative stop, and very unique, and I think a very local attraction worth supporting. For now, for further support at the Folsom Prison Museum they also have a few souvenirs you can purchase (including my favorite, postcards) and they do accept major credit cards or you can make a donation.
Visiting Folsom Prison Museum

I’m hoping I’ll never have to experience a prison, so this is the closest to learning about this part of the world. It may not be as famous as Alcatraz, but it’s definitely just as fascinating, and doesn’t require a reservation and is a bargain price at $2. Have you ever visited any prisons, or would you ever consider doing so?

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Review of Living Digital Space and Future Parks

Today, I’m doing a Travel Tuesday to the Bay Area to highlight a spectacular exhibit that is ending really soon on December 18! Living Digital Space and Future Parks is an exhibit is created by a collective of people who bring together technology and art called teamlab that was founded in Tokyo in 2001. Their exhibits draw in you as a viewer into how the art and technology can become one while also exploring your perspective and your interaction with the exhibit and how both influence and can change each other.
Crystal Universe Crystal Universe

Teamlab has multiple exhibitions around the world, mostly in Asia, and this display Pace Gallery in Menlo Park, in the Bay Area of California, is one of the largest exhibitions with 20 of their digital pieces installed. All of their previous exhibitions in the US have only been temporary, with only one permanent exhibit in Seattle at the Living Computer Museum and which only has two versions of the 20 that are being shown at Living Digital Space and Future Parks.

Let me walk you through my experience. First, after checking in, you will be in the first of two buildings that house the 20 pieces. This initial building, Living Digital Space, is geared more towards everyone but particularly adults, and houses 13 art installations. Meanwhile the second building, Future Parks, is more focused on children and the young at heart with 7 additional exhibits. A visit to both buildings will take 2 hours if you take your time like I did when I visited with my mom, but we also had no kids that wanted to play awhile at Future Parks.

Brace yourself, it is 20 installations, and here’s my full review of Living Digital Space and Future Parks.

Living Digital Space

  1. Light Sculpture of Flame uses lots of accumulated light points to create a sculptural flame, similar to the way distinct dots of color form an image in a pointillist painting. You will want to watch it from afar to see the whole, and then up close to see all the tiny little wires and pinpoints of lights that somehow all come together to make that ever changing dancing flame (it was a bit dark but I tried to show it in the 2nd and 3rd photos). The image of the flames and the way the lights create patterns are  continuously created in real-time by a computer program based on how close or far viewers are (more light and sound is louder sound when viewers are closer).
    Light Sculpture of Flames as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This artwork uses accumulated light points to create a sculptural body, similar to the way distinct dots of color form an image in a pointillist painting. The artwork does not use pre-recorded imagery; it is continuously created in real-time by a computer program and is in a constant process of transformation based on how close or far viewers are (more light, louder sound when closer) Light Sculpture of Flames as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This artwork uses accumulated light points to create a sculptural body, similar to the way distinct dots of color form an image in a pointillist painting. The artwork does not use pre-recorded imagery; it is continuously created in real-time by a computer program and is in a constant process of transformation based on how close or far viewers are (more light, louder sound when closer) Light Sculpture of Flames as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This artwork uses accumulated light points to create a sculptural body, similar to the way distinct dots of color form an image in a pointillist painting. The artwork does not use pre-recorded imagery; it is continuously created in real-time by a computer program and is in a constant process of transformation based on how close or far viewers are (more light, louder sound when closer) Light Sculpture of Flames as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This artwork uses accumulated light points to create a sculptural body, similar to the way distinct dots of color form an image in a pointillist painting. The artwork does not use pre-recorded imagery; it is continuously created in real-time by a computer program and is in a constant process of transformation based on how close or far viewers are (more light, louder sound when closer)
  2. Flowers and People, Gold
  3. Flowers and People, Black
    Both of these are placed next to each other in a hallway, and have similar themes and interactions with variations of color. This flowers on the branch are rendered in real time by a computer program and the flowers blossom and then their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away based on how close and how long a viewer stands before different parts of the artwork, blurring the boundary between the viewer and art space.
    For instance, here in the Gold version in the first two and the Black version in the second pair of photos below, you can see what it looks like with the flowers on the branch on the left and then how the petals change when I step closer in the right photo. The movement of the petals is mesmerizing.
    Flowers and People as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. The flowers bud, grow, and blossom before their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once, wither and die, or come to life and blossom once again. Flowers and People as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks.This artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. The flowers bud, grow, and blossom before their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once, wither and die, or come to life and blossom once again. Flowers and People as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks.This artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. The flowers bud, grow, and blossom before their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once, wither and die, or come to life and blossom once again. Flowers and People as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks.This artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. The flowers bud, grow, and blossom before their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once, wither and die, or come to life and blossom once again.
  4. Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased As Well, Division in Perspective is an entire darkened room with seven screens. The Japanese mythical bird Yatagarasu (believed to represent the sun and the will of Heaven) is rendered in light and flies around all the screens as soaring music plays. The crows chase each other through the air leaving windstream calligraphy trails in their path and eventually they become flowers. This was one that was pretty difficult to photograph with all the fast flying of the birds, but you can get a bit of an idea at the teamlab site with their videos and photos. It was disorienting but fascinating to me how all that motion surrounds you as a viewer and changes depending on where you walk and stand, how many screens you could see, and how even your fellow viewers and how their silhouette in the darkness contributes to the image in your eyes.
  5. Flowers and Corpse Glitch Set of 12
    This was my mom’s favorite of the installations. There are 12 stories one each on each screen/scroll, that start covered with golden clouds that part to show the particular slide of the story in that screen. Shortly, the scene begins to fall apart like the surface has been cracked of the “painting” to now show the technology behind the animation, and the 3D renderings behind the scenes. Then, everything disintegrates and the gold clouds cover the story to signal the falling of the curtain.
    Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. The work consists of 12 film stories based on the themes of civilization and nature, collision, circulation, symbiosis. The surface of Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 disintegrates to reveal the hidden underside of the animation. Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. The work consists of 12 film stories based on the themes of civilization and nature, collision, circulation, symbiosis. The surface of Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 disintegrates to reveal the hidden underside of the animation.
    The 12 screens tell the tale of Story of civilization, nature, prosperity, war, and balance with a capital city and a noble Hikaru Genij. Disease begins to ravage the capital and to investigate Hikaru Genji journeys outside of the city and arrives at a mountain village. The people cut down trees in the forest, and the villagers cut down a sacred tree and the angry spirit dragon Yamata no Orochi appears. Yamata no Orochi rampages the village so a battle between the warriors, the gods of the forest and Yamata no Orochi begins. The warriors make use of the developments of civilization, such as flaming arrows and swords to be victorious. After the battle, the burned-out forest is a wasteland. Hikaru Genji spreads seeds over the corpse of Yamata no Orochi and from the dead corpse, buds appear and the forest is gradually restored. The people are determined to go on and live in harmony with the forest and a festival is held.
    Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. The work consists of 12 film stories based on the themes of civilization and nature, collision, circulation, symbiosis. The surface of Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 disintegrates to reveal the hidden underside of the animation.
  6. Black Waves The movement of waves of water is simulated in a computer-generated three-dimensional space and doesn’t seem to repeat, just like the way in real life hundreds of thousands of particles affect each other in so many different ways. It was interesting in that since this is placed in a room after the Flowers and People and Light Sculpture of Flame, I saw already several people trying to go up to it and see if they can affect these stormy seas (you can’t) and how quickly people begin to expect more from art than passively viewing.
    Black Waves as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. The movement of waves of water is simulated in a computer-generated three-dimensional space. The water is expressed as a continuous body after calculating the interactions of hundreds of thousands of particles
  7. Black Waves in Infinity I didn’t find the title card right away when I entered the room and my impression when I first entered and explored was more about Smoke and Mirrors in the way the outside walls of the room was all mirrors while the inside were clear glass with wafting waves of what appeared to be smoke that sometimes made it easy and clear to see through multiple rows and other times hid them. Again, fellow viewers in the room almost became part of the art in whether I can see them or silhouettes or no one at all among the pathways leading back and forth between the light and smoke and mirrors. I don’t know if that’s what they were expecting but I’m sticking with my interpretation.
  8. Crystal Universe This was my favorite of the installations. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones or tablets at the end of the path looking back on the Crystal Universe as a whole to select elements of patterns and colors for the lights to embody in the light space universe.
    Here’s a few photos of the lights from unlit to the variations of colors they can embody.
    Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe. Crystal Universe as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Viewers are invited to enter and walk around within the three-dimensional light space. This movement affects the light particles and creates changes in the installation. Viewers can also interact with the work by using their smartphones to select elements that make up the crystal universe.
    Here’s a look at the universe from the outside, after walking through

    And here’s a look from the inside
  9. Cold Life A screen projects what starts as brush strokes modeled in virtual 3-D space that forms the character 生 (Japanese/Mandarin for life). As the branch/character turns, each spin continues the metamorphoses of the initially plain branch into a tree with buds then flowering as it continues to turn and turn with time, blossoming and becoming exuberant with life.
    Cold Life as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A calligraphic series of brush strokes modeled in virtual 3-D space forms the character 生 (Japanese/Mandarin for life) which metamorphoses into a tree. As time passes, various life forms begin to emanate and grow from within the tree. Cold Life as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A calligraphic series of brush strokes modeled in virtual 3-D space forms the character 生 (Japanese/Mandarin for life) which metamorphoses into a tree. As time passes, various life forms begin to emanate and grow from within the tree. Cold Life as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A calligraphic series of brush strokes modeled in virtual 3-D space forms the character 生 (Japanese/Mandarin for life) which metamorphoses into a tree. As time passes, various life forms begin to emanate and grow from within the tree. Cold Life as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A calligraphic series of brush strokes modeled in virtual 3-D space forms the character 生 (Japanese/Mandarin for life) which metamorphoses into a tree. As time passes, various life forms begin to emanate and grow from within the tree.
  10. Universe of Water Particles pursues an interesting concept in that traditional Japanese art water included using lines to represent the moving flow and life. and questions whether seeing those lines gives a sense of life even though this is not a video of a waterfall but a computer generated virtual waterfall. Does the viewer feels it is alive and a connection to nature even knowing it is a rendered reproduction of the physical and not the real thing?
    Universe of Water Particles as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Computer-generated water consisting of hundreds of thousands of water particles is virtually poured onto a virtually sculpted rock. The computer calculates the movement of the particles to produce a simulation of water that flows in accordance with the laws of physics. Lines are drawn in relation to a selection of 0.1% of the particles. The sinuousness of the lines depends on the overall interaction of the water particles. The piece pursues an interesting concept in that traditional Japanese art water included using lines to represent the moving flow and life. and questions whether seeing those lines gives a sense of life even though this is not a video of a waterfall but a computer generated virtual waterfall. Does the viewer feels it is alive and a connection even knowing is is a representation and reproduction of an actual physical phenomena and not the real thing?
    These last three artworks were placed together in the same room and seemed to flow into each other.
  11. Flowers and People Cannot Be Controlled But Live Together, A Whole Year Per Hour This is the entire room in terms of the walls and floor with projections of flowers. This artwork is in continuous change, over a period of one hour a seasonal year of flowers blossoms and scatters. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once or come to life and blossom once again. The more people in the room, the more the flowers wither but if you wait for the room to empty a bit, the more flowers but less movement of blossoming petals set flying by human presence. This room, along with Crystal Universe, and Flowers and People Black or Gold, seemed to inspire the most selfies. I have no selfie game but my mom took my photo 😉
    Flowers and People Cannot Be Controlled But Live Together, A Whole Year Per Hour as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. . This is the entire room in terms of the walls and floor, not including the TV screen. This artwork is in continuous change, over a period of one hour a seasonal year of flowers blossoms and scatters. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once or come to life and blossom once again. The more people in the room, the more the flowers wither but if you wait for the room to empty a bit, the more flowers but less movement of blossoming petals.
    I overall had a mixed reaction to the number of selfies I saw – on one hand, this art is beautiful and you want to remember it, and the art encourages you to be part of it. On the other hand, some seemed more focused on themselves with the art as backdrop and barely thinking about the art, particularly one pair of girls who every room I ran into them and she posed in front of each and every art with her hand cupping as if holding the installation which I found diminishing and negative somehow. I seem ok with it for buildings and landmarks and statues outside where I admit that kind of shot can be humorous – why was this different? What are your thoughts about selfies and art?
  12. Ever Blossoming Life II This artwork is in continuous change on the TV screen. Over a period of one hour, a seasonal year of flowers blossoms and scatters. Flowers bud, grow, blossom, then the petals scatter, and the flowers wither and fade away. The cycle of birth and death repeats itself with pauses to also integrate with the Flutter of Butterflies work below…
    Ever Blossoming Life II - A Whole Year per Hour, Dark as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This is the TV screen inside the next room - it switches between Butterfly and Ever Blossoming. This artwork is in continuous change, over a period of one hour a seasonal year of flowers blossoms and scatters. Flowers are born, grow and blossom in profusion before the petals scatter, and the flowers wither and fade away. The cycle of birth and death repeats itself, continuing for eternity. The entire work changes continuously. The same state will never be repeated.
  13. Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders. This was a mode of the TV screen that would swap between Ever Blossoming Life II in turns. For this art piece, butterflies appear on the screen and fly seamlessly into the nearby installation (aka outside the TV screen and into the room walls). It challenges the boundaries between the works. The flight pattern of the butterflies in Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders is influenced by the state of the other works, as well as the behavior of the viewers. The butterflies gather in places where flowers bloom in the other works, and if a viewers touches a butterfly, it loses its life.
    Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This was a mode of the TV screen that would swap between Ever Blossoming Life II in turns. For this art piece, butterflies appear on the screen and fly seamlessly into the nearby installation (aka outside the TV screen and into the room walls). It challenges the boundaries between the works. The flight pattern of the butterflies in Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders is influenced by the state of the other works, as well as the behavior of the viewers. The butterflies gather in places where flowers bloom in the other works; and if a viewers touches a butterfly, it loses its life.

Future Parks

This is a great exhibit to bring your kids to that connect critical thinking and creativity with technology and art as well as social interactions with others in many of the exhibits in which each individual contributes to a collaborative play space.

  1. Sketch Town Sketch Town is a town that grows and evolves according to the pictures drawn by children. After the 2-D drawings of cars, buildings, and spaceships are colored in and detailed (blank sheets with the shapes are provided), the creations are scanned and projected onto the virtual 3-D townscape. Children can interact with the final townscape by touching individual components to alter their behavior. Please don’t mock my drawing of me and my mom too much.
    Sketch Town as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Sketch Town is a town that grows and evolves according to the pictures drawn by children. After the 2-D drawings of the cars, buildings, UFOs and spaceships are completed, they are scanned and projected onto the virtual 3-D townscape. Every component of the town has a role to play; for example, the fire trucks and cranes serve to protect the town. Children can interact with the final townscape by touching individual components to alter their behavior. Sketch Town as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Sketch Town is a town that grows and evolves according to the pictures drawn by children. After the 2-D drawings of the cars, buildings, UFOs and spaceships are completed, they are scanned and projected onto the virtual 3-D townscape. Every component of the town has a role to play; for example, the fire trucks and cranes serve to protect the town. Children can interact with the final townscape by touching individual components to alter their behavior.
  2. Sketch Town Papercraft This is a variation of the above where the digital and physical barrier is broken back down where the same 2-D drawings are scanned and printed on a sheet that can be used to create 3-D papercrafts which children can take home. This activity involves problem solving skills and logical thinking, as children have to identify where to cut, fold, and glue as there are no direct instructions. As an adult I felt too guilty to literally fight for a seat at the table among the kids for this, but you can see more detail here at the teamlab site on Sketch Town Papercraft with photos and video.
    Sketch Town Papercraft as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This is a variation of the Sketch Town where the digital and physical barrier is broken back down where the same 2-D drawings are scanned and printed on a sheet that can be used to create 3-D papercrafts which children can take home. This activity involves problem solving skills and logical thinking, as children have to identify where to cut, fold, and glue as there are no direct instructions.
  3. Sketch Aquarium Sketch Aquarium is an aquarium that grows and evolves according to the pictures drawn by children (yes an underwater variation of Sketch Town basically). After the 2-D drawings of sea creatures varying from jelly fish to sharks are colored in and detailed (blank sheets with the shapes are provided), the creations are scanned and projected onto the virtual 3-D aquarium. Children may also touch the sea creatures to see them swim away, or touch the virtual food bag to feed them.
    Sketch Aquarium as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Each participant is invited to color in a drawing of a sea creature of his or her preference. Once completed, the piece of paper is scanned, and the image is projected onto a giant virtual aquarium. Children will be able to see their creation come to life and swim with all the other sea creatures. Children may also touch the fish to see them swim away, or touch the virtual food bag to feed the fish.
  4. Connecting! Train Block. In Connecting! Train Block, cars and trains run along roads and railroad tracks that are connected by wooden blocks. As children place different blocks on the table, more cars and trains appear as roads and rivers and stations get connected, forming a townscape. Children play by placing the blocks in different positions to create a town collaboratively with other children.
    Connecting! Train Block as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. In Connecting! Train Block, cars and trains run along roads and railroad tracks that are connected by wooden blocks. As children place different blocks on the table, more cars and trains appear, forming a townscape. Children play by placing the blocks in different positions to create a town collaboratively with other children. Connecting! Train Block as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. In Connecting! Train Block, cars and trains run along roads and railroad tracks that are connected by wooden blocks. As children place different blocks on the table, more cars and trains appear, forming a townscape. Children play by placing the blocks in different positions to create a town collaboratively with other children.
  5. Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses Participants are invited to create their own Hopscotch course, consisting of projected circular, triangular, and square shapes that are placed on a tablet to create the course and then appear in real life along a path to play with. Different sound effects and images emerge as participants land on the same shape or color in succession on the actual course.
    Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses is the exciting, digital version of the childhood game Hopscotch. Participants are invited to create their own Hopscotch course, consisting of projected circular, triangular, and square shapes. Each participant is able to determine the level of difficulty while making full use of his or her imaginative and creative skills. Different sound effects and beautiful imageries emerge as participants land on the same shape or color in succession. Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses is the exciting, digital version of the childhood game Hopscotch. Participants are invited to create their own Hopscotch course, consisting of projected circular, triangular, and square shapes. Each participant is able to determine the level of difficulty while making full use of his or her imaginative and creative skills. Different sound effects and beautiful imageries emerge as participants land on the same shape or color in succession.
  6. A Table where Little People Live So cute! Little people run around an interactive tabletop screen. Children are encouraged to interact with the little people by placing objects on the table and as each object is introduced, the little people interact with the objects by jumping, climbing, and sliding onto them. You can see a great video of the kids playing it here at the teamlab site.
    A Table where Little People Live as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. In this installation, little people run around an interactive tabletop screen around which children sit or stand. Children are encouraged to interact with the little people by placing objects on the table and as each object is introduced, the little people interact with the objects by jumping, climbing, and sliding onto them. A Table where Little People Live as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. In this installation, little people run around an interactive tabletop screen around which children sit or stand. Children are encouraged to interact with the little people by placing objects on the table and as each object is introduced, the little people interact with the objects by jumping, climbing, and sliding onto them.
  7. Story of the Time When Gods were Still Everywhere A large screen takes up a whole wall in which symbols flow vertically from top to bottom. As the symbols are touched by children, they evolve into the images that they represent: sun, mountains, animals. As more images are created a story begins to emerge as the objects that emerge from the symbols influence one another and are influenced by the actions of other people. For example, a bird lands on a tree, a sheep runs away from a wolf, and a sheep dances as a child approaches it. This is one where the more children the better to be activating the symbols to play together.
    Story of the Time When Gods were Still Everywhere as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A large screen takes up a whole wall in which symbols flow vertically from top to bottom. As the symbols are touched by children, they evolve into the images that they represent: sun, mountains, animals. As more images are created a story begins to emerge as the objects that emerge from the symbols influence one another and are influenced by the actions of other people. For example, a bird lands on a tree, a sheep runs away from a wolf, and a sheep dances as a child approaches it. This is one where the more children the better to be activating the symbols to play together. Story of the Time When Gods were Still Everywhere as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. A large screen takes up a whole wall in which symbols flow vertically from top to bottom. As the symbols are touched by children, they evolve into the images that they represent: sun, mountains, animals. As more images are created a story begins to emerge as the objects that emerge from the symbols influence one another and are influenced by the actions of other people. For example, a bird lands on a tree, a sheep runs away from a wolf, and a sheep dances as a child approaches it. This is one where the more children the better to be activating the symbols to play together.

Please hurry if you want to see it as you must buy your tickets before they close on December 18 (they have already extended once from their run). You can purchase your tickets to the exhibit online at Event Brite, and a general admission ticket is $20 a person. There is discounted admission available for children ages 3-13, students, seniors, and non-profit employees with ID. Tickets come for entrance in 2 hour increments of 11 AM – 1 PM, 1 – 3 PM, 3 – 5 PM and 5 – 7 PM Tuesday – Sunday. The exact address is the Pace Gallery at 300 El Camino Real which has plenty of parking in the lot.

Which installation most fascinates you?
Crystal Universe Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Hour as part of Pace Art + Technology exhibit Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks. This is the room around the TV. This artwork is in continuous change, over a period of one hour a seasonal year of flowers blossoms and scatters. The flowers bud, grow, and blossom before their petals begin to wither, and eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. Depending on the proximity of the viewer to the work, the flowers shed their petals all at once, whither and die, or come to life and blossom once again.

Signature