Each year, Calgary hosts a citywide event known as Beakerhead—a spectacular smashup highlighting the intersections of innovative creativity. For five days, this interactive extravaganza is the entertaining epicenter of the convergence of art, science, and engineering. This year’s festivities—taking place September 14-18, 2016—continues to feature an assortment of visually stimulating celebrations, energetic events, gregarious gatherings, exhilarating performances, and all-around fun!
With a mission to “stimulate ingenuity; engage the public in science, engineering, and art; break down barriers between people and sectors; inspire tomorrow’s workforce; build the economy; and most importantly, learn by doing,” Beakerhead is spearheading a progressive movement in education and enlightenment through entertainment.
A number of exciting events are lined up across the city, inviting audiences to welcome the sublime spectacles with an open mind and interact with the various installations. Highlights include the much-anticipated unveiling of the fully immersive BASS Ship, an outdoor gallery of art and engineering (including a variety of mechanical sculptures), interactive street art, classrooms of creators, larger-than-life theater, and a return performance by Jay Ingram and his band, the Cosmonauts—described as “part space love affair, part rock ’n roll.”
Because there are so many awesome events taking place during the five days, we've highlighted a few that stood out from the rest, below. You can also view Beakerhead's full 2016 calendar on their website.
Rock ’n Roll History of Space Exploration – Join Jay Ingram and his band, the Cosmonauts, on a visual and musical journey through an era when the idea of space exploration was only a dream. Those dreams created the space age and have indeed come true. Meet a real astronaut (and now Chancellor of the University of Calgary!) at the 7:00 pm show, Dr. Robert Thirsk.
Four-to-Six – Street experiments, big-time science busking, mobile contraptions and a cacophony of artists and performers await. Roll up your pant legs and try the cornstarch walk, or meet the maker of an electrical brain. Bring your co-workers or family to this daily open-air happy hour and see a side of the greatest adventure story on earth – yes, science and engineering!
More than 16 activations to explore, including a father-son creation called the Borealis, the original Calgary MakerBus, a mind-bending Camera Obscura or a student-made Brainstorm. Test your voice to see if you sound “authoritative.” Channel your Jackson Pollock with milk paint. Hop into the Lumbering Contraption, a human-sized hamster wheel. There’s more to do than makes this page.
Torched – Calgary’s celebrated chefs and award-winning mixologists are gathering at this urban compound for a live experience designed to jolt your expectations. A warehouse turned skate lab is the setting for a beautifully forged experience. To forge: give form or shape to something by means of careful e ort. Factor in tall cocktails and even taller crane rides, and you have the making of a most memorable evening.
Touch – Touch is a unique, blindfolded sensory adventure that mixes storytelling with the best of the Aveda salon experience, not to mention the latest in scientific and performance research. When was the last time you went to a play at a hair school? This short and tactile theatrical experience is created by Ghost River Theatre in association with the Aveda Institute Calgary. This is part three of Ghost River Theatre’s Six Senses Performance Series.
Each 45-minute performance includes an audience of 10. Hope you like having your hair washed with Aveda products!
Seven Wonderers – Some say science holds the greatest adventure stories on earth – in the hands of the right storytellers! This evening of sparkling storytelling will take you to the frontlines of science—seven stories with music to match—all brought to life by researchers, broadcasters, and brilliant minds. Prepare to see the human side of discovery!
Love Lab: The Darker Side of Relationships – Relationships are full of slings and arrows that can sometimes spark a deep desire to “pay back” perceived offenses. In a word, it’s about power. Dr. Susan Boon from the University of Calgary and Dr. Stephen Yoshimura from the University of Montana explore revenge in this animated and scientific evening, held in one of the world’s oldest love labs—a pub! Everyone welcome, even if you don’t have revenge on your mind.
Beakernight – Prepare for a night full of quirky surprises in a massive outdoor gallery of art and engineering. Beakernight will illuminate the streets of Bridgeland with interactive works and performances, live music, the Beakerbar (including Absolut cocktails)—and of course, the odd pedal-powered brain, can-crushing cow, human-sized hamster wheel, as well as the international public premiere of Calgary’s own Blazin’ Lily Gals and their re-breathing botany, just to name a few. Find your true self at the crossroads of art, science, and engineering!
By the way, there is no dress code. Really. This is a time to show the true you—as wild and wacky or as simple and true as you feel in your inner core. Show up!
Here are a few more images from upcoming, returning, and past events to rev you up for Beakerhead 2016:
BASS Ship by Beama Visual Environments
Beakernight (Cynthia Radford)
Nibbles by Amanda Parer (Nick Sharkey)
Tentacles by Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas (Technoma Niak)
Saturnian by Bee Kingdom Glass
Adults Only Night (Katie Novak)
Spectral Illuminations (Brett Morrison)
Beakerhead biker (Neil Zeller)
All images courtesy of Beakerhead.