Science entertainment in Hopefield

‘Adventure Sport and Science Tourism’ was a point on my very first business card. I think I had something like the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory in mind, coupled with orienteering and adventure racing. Now I am thinking to have a ‘Science Barn’ where one can have Virtual or Augmented Reality events, and, you know, entertaining events that educate in the fields of STEM, with the Social Science angle ala STEMS2 . My problem is that although I can rationally assert that these are all very important, I get bored with these. They are not fun or extreme enough and actually, I don’t need to conform to a curriculum or whatnot. I also don’t want to invest in things that stand there gathering dust. Better to invest in things I’d use, but that can also be opened up to the public. So this post is a reminder of the stuff I’ve come across that I’d like to try out, and maybe it can generate excitement and income on the side.

The overall idea is like an escape room (white paper by S Nicholson from 2015), or more broadly ‘Experience Design’ as explained in this Quartz article.

What I really need is a tagline, something like this company (linked from that Quartz piece) “Mycotoo is an entertainment development company specializing in location based and live entertainment”. Entertainment development company specialising in technology-enabled science awareness/entertainment? Sounds weird and boring. More work needed.
How about Museum of Ice Cream “Museum of Ice Cream transforms concepts and dreams into spaces that provoke imagination and creativity. “
Meowwolf “Meow Wolf is comprised of over 400 employees creating and supporting art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, performance, and more!” – imagine if we can combine this with science awareness… the more serious stuff… “Bringing Sci-Fi to life”? Entertainment development company bringing Sci-Fi to life
Check out the documentary trailer … imagine this in a shipping container, for a start, and a bit more relaxed and less epilepsy inducing
And this NYTimes article which is just inspirational, with quips like “nonideological and nonconfrontational, intended to delight and inspire play”
MeowWolf meets Eden Project. That’s what I want.

Also! An off-grid maker station! In Hopefield. Come live out your version of the apocalypse (because in the actual apocalypse, the internet will be the first thing to go and bureau-crazy the last, which is exactly the wrong way round).

Elements to incorporate or just play with generally:

Solar sinter – 3D printing with the sun, inspired by Markus Keyser. I’m just really struggling to source a fresnel lens locally. Just about ready to get from ebay or something.

Mother of pearl walls

Playing in VR. Starting very simple with that cardboard DIY headset combined with a smartphone and an app. Limited interaction but it can be used to immerse people for a short while ( a few minutes at most) into a different reality to look for clues that they then apply back in the real room. Ideally things that contribute to illuminating our urban resource cycles (a fly-over of where rain comes from and where it goes, a full water cycle…)

Apparently there is a game ‘run an empire’ which interacts with walking in real life.

Building paper models and then making a VR model to accompany it as this example of the Alhambra (found because I have this paper model and want to build more of these).

Mushrooms – probably partnering with e.g. Mushroom Guru to hold courses.

Silk worms? silk, PGA, hydrogel, bioproduction stuff.

DIYBio which needs more focus. Apart from a few PCR stuffs, I’d like a biotech environment where you can walk around in whatever you choose to wear, and barefoot – so, basically, environmental biotech.

Biomimicry. I just have to come to terms with the gimmick side of it.

On a more ambitious note would be practical areas for skills schools – the Skills on a Train idea.

The other very ambitious idea is to launch an Eden Project in SA. My little piece of land won’t hold a whole Eden project, but we could do some funky greenhouse stuff. Orchids and wildly coloured arum lilies, for a start. There are old mines in the surroundings though…

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