Last night. I visited the weekly ‘Nightlife’ event at the California Academy of Sciences. Disposable Film Festival will feature in the Nightlife Programme in July 2012 and so I thought it was as good a reason as any to go to a party in a museum! Expanding on the ‘Long Night of the Museums’ trend, CAS has taken this potentially annual event and turned it into a weekly feature for a reduced entrance fee.
This ambitious venture is no mean feat for any institution but judging by the crowd queuing outside the doors, a worthwhile effort to engage the public. The main attractions are the Planetarium, The Amazon Rainforest area, the ‘cocktail trail’ between exhibition spaces and the music stage in the entrance hall. There is a distinctly odd feeling one gets from holding a cocktail in hand and listening to loud music whilst peering at enormous Californian sea bass circling aquariums signifigantly smaller than their natural habitats, penguins preening on fibre-glass ice-bergs and jellyfish propelling themselves through tanks illuminated by UV light to highlight their incredible colours; honestly, that feeling for me was uncomfortable and forced me to beg the question, who are the real animals in this situation? However, if we are to value these spaces in terms of educational and conservation value then who am I to criticise what is on the whole a well thought-out, insightful experience.
I certainly look forward to seeing how the OutTakes project can bring to the environment, particularly as Nightlife is essentially an over 21′s event so it will be interesting to bring a youth perspective into the space.