Ever since 1975, and up until we closed it in August of 2015, the old 65-foot Space Transit Planetarium entertained and educated children of all ages, not only by bringing the stars, planets and galaxies indoors in enthusiastic live star shows, but by setting up stunning music-filled laser light shows to the tunes of The Beatles or Pink Floyd. These were among the best attended shows at the old planetarium and people are still talking about them.
Because of this, when it was time to bid our old dome farewell, the museum partnered with renowned Miami-raised artist Matthew Schreiber to design a once in a lifetime immersive laser sculpture and soundscape which incorporated our historic Spitz Space Transit Planetarium star projector. The event, of course, was sold out!
Recognized as one of the top ten technological achievements of the 20th century, lasers contributed to the advancement of science. Simultaneously, lasers also generated a great deal of interest and excitement amongst the artistic community, and artists began experimenting with them in the 1960s. Lasers played a key role in the art and technology movement by means of holograms, X-Y scanning, laser light shows and laser sculptures. They also became a must in music performances for a complete entertainment experience.
Today, when thinking about lasers, we find ourselves in a dichotomy. On the one hand, lasers are a thing of the past, a technology that among adults, touches on nostalgia in a way that few do. It is impossible to not think about the original “Star Wars” trilogy, early Pink Floyd tours and the LaserDisk. On the other hand, lasers are a thing of the future, a technology that is still destined to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.
The brilliance of lasers stirs the imagination—their light is mesmerizing, they evoke science fiction adventures and they can be used to teach the physics of light. At the new Frost Science, lasers find their home at Frost Planetarium, where new spectacular laser light shows will build upon our long lasting entertaining tradition every first Friday of the month; and our grand 10,000-square-foot traveling gallery, where we have once again partnered with Schreiber for the design of LASERsHOW: Light, Color and Geometry, an innovative exhibition concept that will welcome you to an immersive contemplative experience about the wonders of lasers and light itself.
Matthew still remembers the first time he was inspired by lasers. It was at the Ontario Science Centers many moons ago, and it is this visit he fondly credits for his genuine interest in lasers as a creative medium for his now international art practice. “LASERsHOW is, somehow, a way for me to come full circle at Frost Science, a similar setting to where everything started. A way for me to celebrate the praxis of art and science in a monastic environment to inspire the next generations of scientists and artists.”
Inside the vast dark space, four stations around a sculptural center stage offer an intimate exploration into the physics of light and lasers, while overhead, a kaleidoscopic laser light figure comes to life. At each station, you will witness laser demonstrations, and learn about the science behind the medium. Watch a prism split white light into all the colors of the visible spectrum or how light can be reflected, refracted and recombined in fascinating ways.
The geometry-inspired center stage and the overhead laser system have already been installed in our traveling gallery, and the team is now working tirelessly on programming the space so light, sound and script play in beautiful unison.
Once open, the exhibition will celebrate the deconstruction of a traditional laser show like the ones you can witness at Frost Planetarium and will wow audiences like never before.