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AutoMatters & More: “Digital Me” + “Mechanics Alive” — new exhibitions at the Fleet Science Center

Large interactive exhibit at “Digital Me”
Large interactive exhibit at “Digital Me”
(Jan Wagner)

“Digital Me”: Meet Yourself in the Digital World

We live in a very different world from the one that many of us grew up in. Today’s world revolves around digital technology. Now the Fleet Science Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park immerses us in that world via a dozen large, colorful, hands-on interactive exhibits and informational graphics.

In its World Premiere, “Digital Me,” through a blend of technology, art, play and media, enables you to explore engaging interactions, and discover consequences — intended or otherwise — of what you share. Technologies and concepts include geolocation, facial recognition, Artificial Intelligence, computer vision, data privacy, Deep Fakes, virtual communities, mixed reality, Big Data, profiling and more.

Replicated digital image of Jan
Replicated digital image of Jan
(Jan Wagner)

Our modern, digital world is, by design, a world that is personalized with an emphasis on you, through the personal information that you are encouraged to share. You will learn about how your every action and image is preserved and stored in the history of the web.

The interactive activities at “Digital Me” will enable you, your family and friends to explore the digital world. Create social media moments with a 16-foot-long selfie and family portraits section, navigate through a digital labyrinth, track your online moves on giant screens and visit a city that has learned about you through your browsing history.

At “Digital Me,” you will gain insight into how you appear to others online, how your information is collected—sometimes without you even noticing — and how it can affect you in the future. Take time to think about what all of this means to you, and how this can and already does impact your life. The implications of this extensive collection of data can be profound and truly life-changing.

Reversing gear in “Mechanics Alive”
Reversing gear in “Mechanics Alive”
(Jan Wagner)

I personally experienced a rather profound revelation when a graphic at the exhibit noted that “many people today spend more time on documenting the experience than being in the moment. But could documentation create a meaningful memory to the same extent, or even more so?” For years I have been enjoying events largely through the eyepiece of my cameras, as I take photos. By capturing the events in this way for myself and for you, how much of my enjoyment and likely recollection of those events am I sacrificing by doing so?

Check out this fast-paced, thought-provoking YouTube video of what you can see and do at “Digital Me”:

“Mechanics Alive”

The modern technology exhibited in “Digital Me” continues a long history of more basic, but arguably no less significant technological innovations that date back many years.

Learn from the interactivity that you will find here, as you operate simple devices that demonstrate the effects of gears, cams, cranks and other basic engineering elements.

Whimsical automata in “Mechanics Alive”
Whimsical automata in “Mechanics Alive”
(Jan Wagner)

Then have fun seeing these technologies put into use and brought to life, as you activate humorous and thought-provoking, artistic wooden gadgets and gizmos that are called “automata,” powered by Cabaret Mechanical Theatre of London.

The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT) was formed in 1979 by Sue Jackson as a small general craft shop in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom. Working with local artists, they created hand-made automata that were then sold to the general public. Within a few years, they had established a successful international reputation for their unique, high quality creations, eventually transitioning towards developing temporary and permanent automata exhibitions that have educated and entertained audiences for over 20 years. For more information about CMT, visit cabaret.co.uk

Studio X

Finally, apply the principles that you learn by building your own contraptions in Studio X, the makerspace at the Fleet Science Center.

“Mechanics Alive” and “Digital Me” will be on exhibit at the Fleet Science Center through January 2022. For more information, visit the Fleet Science Center in San Diego’s wonderful Balboa Park at https://www.fleetscience.org

Do it yourself in the Studio X makerspace
Do it yourself in the Studio X makerspace
(Jan Wagner)

Coming Soon!

Here is something else for everyone to get excited about. Soon you will be able to watch first-run, major theatrical movies in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater at the Fleet Science Center – thanks to the brand-new IMAX® laser digital projection system that is being installed to replace the IMAX® film projection system. The theater will reopen on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.

To see the most photos and the latest text, and to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, visit AutoMatters & More at AutoMatters.net. On the Home Page, search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #713


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