At Beakerhead!

While sitting on my balcony drinking tea one Wednesday evening, I received a text message from my good friend, Natasha. “Come to the Lougheed House right now,” it said. Without questioning, I put on some shoes, grabbed my keys, and was out the door. For one evening, the Lougheed House was home to ‘Spectral Illuminations’, Emmedia’s site-specific projection project, that illuminated the windows, walls, ceilings, and furniture of the building. A fire place projected onto a window made it look like the outside was burning when standing in the living room, there were eerie metallic bubbles emerging from a light fixture on a wall and disappearing into nothing, and the psychedelic colours being projected on the outside of the house kept us mesmerized.


On Thursday, I went on an art walk with Ryan. We began in East Village, with a relaxing few minutes in Bee Kingdom Glass’ Saturnian, the “inflatable robotic exploratory humpback-narwhal hybrid”. We watched as people followed instructions and cracked the codes at the BASS Ship and created bone-vibrating noises that appeared to be communicating with aliens. The BASS Ship is the first project to come out of the Beakerhead Big Bang Residency Program. We strolled past the Sandbox of Human Ingenuity and watched as people unlocked their imaginations in the sand. Next, we drive down to Inglewood and marvelled at Pedro Estrellas’ and Filthy Luker’s Tentacles reaching out of the McGill Block. I personally think we should have tentacles all year round. Our art walk, as many do, concluded with dinner. We scarfed down a few pizzas from Without Papers in Inglewood and deemed the evening a success.

Kids flying kites!

On Friday afternoon, Ryan and I had high hopes, so to speak, of going up in a hot air balloon at The Sky’s The Limit event on International Avenue. As it turned out, the wind was too strong for the hot air balloon, but to the delight of many Beakerhead-goers, the wind was just strong enough to send their homemade kites soaring! We enjoyed a root beer in the sun, and watched the kids and kids-at-heart fly their kites and stare in amazement.

Me and my new robot boyfriend
Me running across water
Waiting for the shark to cross the street.

When we were told the wind was too strong for the balloon, we decided to continue our Beakerhead scavenger hunt, and head downtown to catch the tail end of the Four-to-Six events happening on Stephen Avenue. I held hands with a giant robot, waited for a shark to go by before crossing the street, and waved at the people in the human-sized hamster wheel. We found a crowd of people and stopped. A trough in the middle of the sidewalk, filled with equal parts water and cornstarch, was the main attraction. This mixture is liquid, but when force is applied to it, it acts like a solid— if someone walks slowly they will sink into the water. If they run and stomp quickly, they will walk above it. I took a turn. I looked down, not believing I was about to walk on water. The man nearby told me to just stomp quickly, and counted me down. I did it! I walked across water! It was so rad! After a quick bite to eat at National on 8th, we made our way to Central Memorial Park to see the Nibbles! Big, inflated baby bunnies lit up the park. We laughed at the children all playing with the blow-up carrots and lettuce, and sat in awe as the lights changed colours.

Ryan with a carrot, me with my carrot holding friend

Phew! Not done yet! Saturday night was the grande finale of my Beakerhead experience. I met up with Natasha, Nick, Chad, and Andy, and we head to Bridgeland, where science’s ultimate street party was going down. There were bursts of flame, lasers, LEDs, and actual robots that shot actual fire; what else would you expect from a science street party? We stood, entranced by the LED balloons that glowed and pulsed to the beat of the music filling the field. We stood in awe under the giant inflatable space bear. We laughed as the Science Busters taught us all about combustion and then made the ‘Balls of Science’ explode above our heads. We took in some music at the stage, enjoyed the LED finger lights we bought, and went home with giant, art, engineering, and science loving smiles on our faces.

Space bear!

Thanks for the out of this world weekend, Beakerhead! Thanks for the art, science, and engineering smash up, Calgary!

My beautiful Beakerhead friends and I

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