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North America’s first and only Science Gallery hosts free summer-long exhibition in Detroit

Michigan State University’s Science Gallery Detroit, the first and only North American location of the global Science Gallery Network, is launching DEPTH, its premier 2019 exhibit, in partnership with the Michigan Science Center (MiSci). DEPTH will be located on the upper level of the Michigan Science Center from June 8 until August 17, 2019. The exhibition is free to the public and includes free general admission to Michigan Science Center.

The topic of DEPTH, an exploration of the world’s connection to water, could not be timelier or take place in a more ideal location than Michigan. No other natural resource defines Michigan as much as water, from the Great Lakes to thousands of lakes, rivers, streams and waterways. Yet conditions in both Flint and Detroit illustrate compromised attempts to provide safe drinking water to citizens.

“Science Gallery represents the future of how Michigan State University engages Detroit and the State of Michigan. Science Gallery is bold, thoughtful, and engaged with cutting edge art and science,” said Jeff Grabill, director, Science Gallery Detroit and MSU associate provost for teaching, learning and technology. “We are part of an international network of universities and galleries designed to ignite passion for creativity and problem solving through the blending of art, science, and conversation.”

As part of an international gallery network growing local roots in Detroit, Science Gallery Detroit merges science and art to ignite a passion for art and science in young adults by presenting exhibits in connective, participative and surprising ways. Like all Science Gallery exhibits, DEPTH is geared toward youth ages 15-25, an often-ignored population among museums and galleries.

Instead of traditional docents, Science Gallery Detroit offers “mediators,” ages 18-25, who help guide visitors through brief storytelling experiences to excite further curiosity and bring the exhibition to life.

DEPTH features more than 25 interactive, thought-provoking installments from exhibitors across the world, further bolstering Detroit’s rising importance as an arts, culture and travel destination point. Exhibitors include a combination of more than 12 MSU researchers, along with exhibitors from across the world and nationwide.

A complete list of all exhibit descriptions can be found here, including:
• Along the River of Spacetime: Elizabeth LaPensee, Ph.D and MSU faculty, will create a virtual reality game which shares Anishinaabeg teachings relating to land practices, star knowledge, and quantum physics in an interactive non-linear journey about restoring rivers and its eco-systems by activating Anishinaabe constellations.
• Sound Mural of Detroit: hear the bellows of Detroit students as they share water-related anecdotes through poem. This copper pipe exhibit will be displayed three stories high through a winding staircase. While viewing this sculpture, visitors can turn a spigot on the copper pipes and hear the children’s stories recorded through the pipes.
• Fog of Dawn: MSU’s assistant professor of molecular biology, Bjoern Hamberger, will feature five self-contained habitats which, each two-weeks apart, are inoculated with cells of the moss Physcomitrella, one of the most ancient lineages of land plants. A last one will project humanity into the future, with colonization of Mars. The project intends to fuel discussions about deep space exploration, terraforming, and synthetic biology.
• Detroit Water Portrait: clear prisms are filled with mud collected from bodies of water throughout Detroit. Vibrant gradient colors form in the sculpture, as the microbial life naturally present in the mud begins to flourish. This life continuously grows throughout the exhibition, creating a constantly changing portrait of Detroit’s bodies of water.
• Ice Chess: a map of the Arctic labeled with indigenous communities and shipping routes serve as a chess board where the pieces are made from ice. Toy soldiers are placed inside of the ice sculptures, representing the emerging battle of the Arctic among those who stand to gain from melting ice caps and the pawns that are sacrificed in order to achieve competing goals. Standing at the edge of the board are freestanding soldiers (not captured in ice) whose lives will be impacted by the melting.
• Eternal: MSU alum, Maris Polano created this larger than life-size jellyfish that floats from the ceiling, pointing toward the issue of plastic in the ocean and the dangers it presents for ocean wildlife.

DEPTH is sponsored by MSU’s Science Gallery Detroit founding partner, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), in partnership with the Michigan Science Center, and is supported by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.