Beakerhead the offspring of art and science!

by Tina Amini (SAIT journalism student and Beakerhead intern)

Imagine if art and science had a child, their child would be called Beakerhead!

So one of my first tasks as this year’s Beakerhead intern was to go explore Calgary for links to my own interpretation of what Beakerhead is.

For me, Beakerhead lights up curiosity and causes intrigue, interacting with our community to give us a mash up of education and art.

The Chinook Arc, a piece of public art at the corner of 12th Avenue and 9th Street SW (in Barb Scott Park) screams the Beakerhead movement. NB: Beakerhead had nothing to do with this awesome public art but triggers inspiration of the same movement.

When I look at the Chinook Arc I immediately think: What is it? Who made it? Why?

The curiosity that comes with this piece of public art brings the community together, whether that be the surrounding neighbours or for me; my pals and I. It becomes something that is both admired and questioned.

So much like Beakerhead that brings science to life in various forms providing the dual awe and wonder for people of any community

As a registered Canadian charity Beakerhead is changing and paving the way for science, art and engineering in Canada, and beyond! Many look forward to the September week of events that are organized each year, but did you know that there are workshops and experiences throughout the year too? If not, make the Beakerhead Events page a bookmark!

Take a look at some photos I took that remind me of Beakerhead. The photos share a common theme: not just art that is put up by the city in hopes of brightening it up, but art that brings the community together. 

Display of LED lights creating art in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. This photo was taken during Beakernight. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Display of LED lights creating art in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. This photo was taken during Beakernight. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Calgarians engaging in art on display during beakernight in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Calgarians engaging in art on display during Beakernight in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Shot taken of Wonderland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tina Amini/Beakerhead)
Shot taken of Wonderland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tina Amini/Beakerhead)

Announcing the mushroom block designer … you!

A cul-de-sac in Calgary will become an outdoor gallery for a large-scale structure that is the inspiration of winning architect interns, Vlad Amiot and Spencer Cutten.

Their entry won a competition to design a temporary public artwork using 10,000 mushroom blocks this September, as part of the annual smash up of art, science and engineering called Beakerhead. The blocks, made from mushroom spores and agricultural waste, are the brainchild of entrepreneurs, Ecovative Designs, who wanted to build packaging materials out of compostable materials rather than foam or plastic.

According to Amiot and Cutten, their piece, called IN/FLUX, is an experiment in form where visitors have the opportunity to directly influence the shape of a moving wall.

By allowing visitors to shape the installation, the architects hope to foster a sense of community while also allowing for a sense of personal ownership in the piece. Environmental factors, such as wind, may also manipulate the piece’s form. The response to the environment is also important to the designers. Together, it is hoped the experiences drive home the delicate but important connections between humanity, the world we construct, the environment, and our power to shape all three.

Nighttime rendering by Vlad Amiot and Spencer Cutten
Nighttime rendering by Vlad Amiot and Spencer Cutten

The mushroom blocks are one of five Beakerhead for a Better World projects that look at how art, science and engineering can come together not only to entertain and astonish, but to solve the world’s greatest problems. Beakerhead for a Better World is a partnership with the Trico Charitable Foundation.

“Engineering and art have deeply related traits that make them perfect tools for reimaging how we can solve the most important and perplexing problems facing our planet. We believe that art and engineering can save the world, and through Beakerhead, Calgarians will experience powerful examples, like light bulbs that last 40 years or air-purifying suits, and be inspired and empowered to create their own solutions,” says Wayne Chiu, Executive Chair of the Trico Charitable Foundation. The Trico Charitable Foundation provokes innovation and builds capacity in social entrepreneurship.

Beakerhead is a year-round initiative that culminates every September in five days of engineered works of art and culture, turning Calgary into a playground for human ingenuity. Everyone is welcome, and the majority of events are free.

The third annual Beakerhead will run September 16-20, 2015.

Download the full media release – click here.

This installation is one of five social good activations appearing at Beakerhead 2015, in partnership with the Trico Charitable Foundation. Check out the Beakerhead for a Better World trailer.

Call for Community-Built Designs

Every September, Beakerhead erupts onto the streets and venues of Calgary with clever and creative works of engineered art. This is a design call for community-built creations that could be a part of this ruckus. One or more of the proposed designs may be eligible for financial support to turn the design into reality!

What is the design challenge?

Beakerhead is looking for delightful and inspiring pieces that open an entertaining door to the world of science and engineering.

Who can take part?

Calgary communities are invited to design something for their neighbourhoods – mobile or stationary – that could be a conversation starter within the community, or between communities about making a better world by bringing art and engineering together.

This design call is seeking concepts that could be built locally and shared with the world during Beakerhead in September. All proposed designs should be envisioned as projects that would require community volunteers to build, drawing on both creative and technical skills. Youth should be considered as part of the creative and implementation team.

Important dates

  • June 15 (midnight MST): deadline for design concepts
  • July 7: projects that will receive financial support will be notified
  • September 16: unveiling of the project and shared between September 16 – 20, 2015

It’s all in the details… DOWNLOAD THE FULL CALL FOR DESIGN

GOT QUESTIONS? Email connect@beakerhead.com

Need some inspiration?

6000 Recycled CDs by Green Me
6000 Recycled CDs by Green Me
Recycled plastic bottle chandelier from Stuck in Moscow
Recycled plastic bottle chandelier from Stuck in Moscow
Grab a Seat, found on Pinterest
Grab a Seat, found on Pinterest