STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Equal parts science, storytelling and art, “Future Sensations” looks like quite a lot to wrap your brain around.
Well, where is it?
The Oval, as in the area of the Eakins Oval by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This recently added, 8-acre public park on the northwest corner of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was created by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy. For more information, visit www.theovalphl.org.
What is it?
International building materials company Saint-Gobain, which has a branch in Valley Forge, is celebrating its 350th anniversary with this globe-traveling assemblage of five immersive, interactive, cube-shaped pavilions, weighing between 20 and 50 metric tons each, and ranging in height from 13 to 32 feet.
Pavilion 1, “Look,” is comprised of LED-inlaid mirrors. At night, the glass booth becomes an animated cube of light. Inside, there’s a three-minute “experience mingling historical and contemporary images.”
Pavilion 2, “Listen,” is the white padded-looking one. Inside, the sounds and acoustics will remind you of being near an ocean, urban or natural environment. At night, the exterior appears to start moving through light produced by small flashing LED lights
Pavilion 3, “Color,” is a freestanding kaleidoscope of two glazed, mobile concentric rings of colored glass panels. The rotating carousel plays games with the eye.
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Pavilion 4, “Create,” suggests an upward twisting stairway in motion. Inside, your grasp of space and color is questioned with lighting tissue effects and animated laser games on the ceiling. At night, this is another of the cubes that appears to start moving through light produced by small flashing LED lights.
Pavilion 5, “History and Future,” is a 70-foot dome offering a 360-degree visual experience. After having your senses shaken up by the other pavilions, this one makes sense out of what you just witnessed, and points out how they relate to what the Saint-Gobain companies do.
Those flashing lights sound a little overwhelming.
For safety’s sake, epileptics and other photosensitive individuals should sit this one out. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation recommends not exposing yourself to lights that flash more than three times per second, and that light stimuli should occupy no more than 25 percent of your viewing area, according to information provided. The foundation also warns that static or moving patterns of discernible light and dark stripes can have the same effect as flashing lights. Take a look at www.futuresensations.com for more.
When can I go to “Future Sensations?”
Noon to 10 p.m. May 30 and June 2-6; noon to 7 p.m. May 31; and noon to 6 p.m. June 1. It’s the only U.S. tour stop.
How do I get there?
Because the only parking that’s close to The Oval is paid street parking on the parkway, you’ll want to try SEPTA bus routes 2, 7, 32, 33 or 48, or take the Philly Phlash bus to stop 13.
What does it cost?
It’s free, but bring money for the pop-up beer garden on site.
Will there be food trucks?
Yes. A variety of food trucks will be available throughout the event featuring an assortment of cuisines and treats for purchase. Check the website for a complete list.