Friday, June 20, 2014

The Mind Museum

The clearest memory I have of science class in grade school isn't of quizzes I aced or lab experiments I did perfectly well. It is of my fifth-grade teacher demonstrating the almost-dance she has to perform to generate body heat when bathing with cold water early in the morning. Needless to say, science was never a favorite subject of mine growing up, but had some place like The Mind Museum been already open back then, learning science might have been a lot more fun.

The Mind Museum is a project of the non-profit Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. funded completely by private donations from corporations and individuals and opened in March 2012 after five years of planning. Built with a design that's both aesthetic and sustainable right in the middle of a sea of high-rise structures in Bonifacio Global City, it houses exhibits designed and fabricated by mostly Filipino designers and scientists. I've heard a lot of good stuff about it but never got to visit it until last Saturday's date (yay for out-of-the-box date ideas!)


Entering the building, I expected to be directed to a museum guide but there was only a robot called Aedi ("idea" spelled backwards) spouting what could be seen inside the museum along with some important reminders. Basically, he was saying, "This is a self-guided tour. Don't be lazy. Read." One recurring sign posted on pillars and walls everywhere actually said, "Reading is what makes humans unique. Please help us prove this every day. Read the signs in the museum." They obviously know their clientele.

The robot Aedi, the first thing that will greet you upon entering the museum

I wasn't really feeling like reading a lot because I hadn't had my caffeine fix for the day yet, so the layout of the exhibits confused me at first. They had a butanding (whale shark) right beside a large-scale model of the brain and near floating beach balls demonstrating Bernoulli's principle. A glowing model of the moon came before the section devoted to prehistoric times. I felt like a kid lost in the middle of a department store.

Butanding or whale shark

Large-scale models of the heart and the brain. The sign on the heart is false—the pulse you hear is actually a pre-recorded one.

I only began to enjoy myself after finally getting my bearings, and the first thing that really piqued my interest was the shadow box where phosphorescence makes your shadow freeze in place for a few seconds after a bright light goes off. Then there were the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and tornado simulator, and of course, the Space Travel section which, in hindsight, was attractive to me only because of the ceiling lights that emulated stars in the night sky (which I had fun shooting bokeh). Oh, and there was this spinning tunnel which will mess with your head and make it think you're the one spinning when really it's just the walls.

Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton

Tornado simulator

Bokeh shot

An astronaut's suit

The friggin' spinning tunnel

Tunnel of blinking rainbow lights, which was technically on the second floor already

The second floor had more interesting stuff for me, chief of which was the x-ray machine they use in airports for bag inspections. I've always been curious what exactly they see when they let bags pass through on the conveyor belt, and apparently my bag that day contained mostly wires and buttons.


There were also an astrolabe, a harp with invisible strings, a kaleidoscope, zoetropes, pictograms and the cross-section of a toilet.

An astrolabe

A harp with laser light strings

A kaleidoscope

Zoetropes, animation devices from pre-cinema times

The cross-section of a toilet

One exhibit on the second floor was The Apocalypse Project featuring The Planetary Poetry Board that allows you to write a poem based on the first thought that comes to mind when you see the spot your dice falls on. This would be a fun icebreaker for team-building events.





Aside from The Planetary Poetry Board, The Apocalypse Project also showcases Imagined Futures by artist-scientist-designer Catherine Sarah Young, part of which is Climate Change Couture, a collection of innovative traditional clothing such as a barong tagalog that has a hoodie for when it rains on your way to a formal event, a saya dress with an inflatable terno and skirt in case of flooding, a gown made entirely of the plastic used for garbage bags, a scavenger suit that can have you covered in fishnets in case of an attack by a swarm of mosquitoes while camping, and a terrasuit which is basically portable air-conditioning to help survive the heat. The garments' printed descriptions are quite funny.

"The Unpredictabilicoat: The Expandable Barong Tagalog for Strange Weather"

"The Inflatable Terno: The Floatation Device for High Society Dinners"

"The Garbage Gown: The Plastic Evening Dress for Beauty Queens"

"The Scavenger Suit: The Survival Gear for Roughing It 24/7"

"The Terrasuit: The Cooling Suit for the Commuting Urbanite"

Catherine Sarah Young also designed this thermochromic Hug Vest, which supposedly changes color when touched. I gave my date a hug while wearing it but nothing happened. The many museum visitors before us must have already used up all its energy.

"The Hug Vest." We tried it. It didn't work.

The Mind Museum is located at J. Y. Campos Park, 3rd Ave., Taguig. They're open from 9 AM to 6 PM Tuesdays to Fridays and Sundays, and 9 AM to 9 PM Saturdays. They're closed Mondays. All-day passes cost P450 for adults and children, and P150 for public school students (up to college), senior citizens and PWDs. Though they don't advertise it, they also give a discount to teachers. Just bring a valid ID for proof. For more details, you may call (02) 909-MIND (6463) or visit themindmuseum.org.

The souvenir shop which visitors will need to go through before exiting the museum
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1 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

like!! :)