23 free events and exhibits to look for at the Beakerhead 2016 science extravaganza

Sep 14 2016, 11:50 pm

Calgary’s annual smash up of art, science and engineering is here this week from Wednesday, September 14 through Sunday, September 18.

This year, Beakerhead will include more than 65 mechanical sculptures, interactive street art, classrooms of creators, culinary delights, and spectacular performances.

While most Beakerhead events are free, some are ticketed, from musical performances to hands-on workshops and tours.

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Here are 17 free events to look for at the Beakerhead 2016 science extravaganza.


An evening full of quirky surprises illuminate the streets of Bridgeland where everyone will enjoy interactive works and performances, live music, the Beakerbar, a pedal-powered brain, a can-crushing cow and a human-sized hamster wheel, just to name to few.

Cornstarch Walk

The Cornstarch Walk at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

The Cornstarch Walk at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

Try your luck at walking across a trough of cornstarch and water – barefoot – without sinking!

Galleries of Engineered Art

Take yourself on a self-guided art tour or stop by one of the following galleries when you are out on one of your Beakerhead forays. Galleries included are: Contemporary Calgary, Herringer Kiss Gallery, Eyes on the Ave, and Equinox Vigil.



East Village get a giant spaceship (East Village / Twitter)

The international premiere of a two-story high communications device for sending messages to outer space – if you can crack the code. Hop in! It’s in the East Village.

Ramsay Time Traveller’s Parade

Put on your time/dimension traveler’s costume and join the battle to save the future/past/present!

Bike Your Beakerhead

Deck your bike out in lights and fun fur! Join the merry gang at Cyclepalooza for a tour through all the major Beakerhead installations before landing at Beakernight for the festivities. The more the merrier in this pedal-powered community exploration. Meet at Central Memorial Park by the baby bunny inflatables.

Highly Social Science

Highly Social Science at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

Highly Social Science at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

A building turned into a social barometer in Mission. Behavioural science meets street smarts in this large-scale (we’re talking building-sized) barometer that scans social media for reactions to important issues of everyday life – from quirky to profound. Can you make the needle move?

Pop-up Palaeontology

If you can find a fossil in perhaps the world’s largest sandbox, it’s yours for the painting — and taking home! Join the team of palaeontologists, educators, and technicians from the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in the Beakerhead sandbox for human ingenuity.

Message in a Bottle

Head to a location that lights up as you explore! From Wednesday to Friday, a giant eight-foot Lite Brite-inspired toy illuminates your best pixel art, while a quadrant maze tests your sense of direction, thanks to Calgary Can and friends. Both of these life-size games will be made with re-purposed bottles and cans. On Saturday and Sunday, the location springs to life with a Pop Can Arcade that takes an unusual currency: crushed cans.

Energy Defenders

Battle the forces of darkness by generating energy so you can get to the party! Join us at this outdoor event for all ages, where you’ll be tasked to create energy through fun activities. Use that energy to zap vampires who want to prevent you from getting to the party! Try the real-life version, play the digital version at home on wonderville.org.


calgary octopus

Massive octopus in Inglewood (Beakerhead)

A massive octopus has managed to get inside one of Inglewood’s historic building! Did you know octopuses have massive brains – half a billion neurons no less? This is the Calgary premiere of UK artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas.

Social Circuit

Kensington is looking to make a “connection” to visitors with a delightful reward for those that are open to collaboration and interaction. A creative bench has been programmed to respond to the people sitting on it and the reward for such collaboration is immediate and delightful!


Walk barefoot inside the belly of an inflatable robotic, exploratory, humpback – narwhal hybrid.


A gallery of robotic cardboard comes remarkably alive in this international premiere of Swiss artist Zimoun’s new work. Using simple and functional components, Zimoun builds architectural sound sculptures and installations ­– graceful, mechanized and playful works with structural simplicity.

Cloud 17

Cloud 17 at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

Cloud 17 at Beakerhead (Beakerhead)

Three interactive experiences will provide you with light, images and sound in the heart of 17th ave.

Spectral Illuminations

Local media artists will be illuminating the beautiful historic Lougheed House with the art of projection mapping (site-specific projections that alter the appearance of the surface on which they are projected). These projections will light up and animate the walls, windows, furniture and ceilings, while interpreting the amazing history of the house, creating surprises around every corner!

Sandbox of Human Ingenuity

The world’s most unbounded sandbox is back! Robots and humans of all ages (0-120) are invited to go on an archaeological dig, bring a picnic or just roll up your sleeves and get sandy.

U of C Campus Collisions

The University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources is presenting a series of free, public events during Beakerhead, September 14 – 15 in Taylor Family Digital Library. Events included are: The Big House by Brandon Hearty, Moving Data by Angela Rout, In Motion by Oksana Kryzhanivska with Jeffrey Boyd, Subject to Change by Joshua Taron with Jason Johnson, Slicing the Aurora by Sebastion Lay <et al.>, Talented Tech by Engineering Education Students’ Society (E2S2), Visualizing Imperceivable Sound by Brian Garbet, The Cymascope by Angela Broad, and They Should Ask Us by Angela Rout.


Nibbles offers 7 new baby bunny designs (Amanda Parer)

Nibbles offers 7 new baby bunny designs (Amanda Parer)

For those who remember last year’s rabbits in Central Memorial Park… You know what rabbits do? It has happened. Welcome … baby bunnies!


Explore some of Calgary and area’s innovative tech companies as they demonstrate how gaming technologies have influenced their business. Browse through two floors of invention and an outdoor park to check out what’s abuzz in Alberta’s growing tech sector. Start the day with Let’s Talk Gaming, as the Canada Science and Technology Museum co-hosts a speakers panel exploring why video games are important.

Taste of That Thing in the Desert

Join the League of Extraordinary Albertans for a celebration of freedom and radical self-expression with interactive art displays, workshops for all ages, performances and live DJs for dancing. Expressive dress and costumes are encouraged for this family-friendly event with interactivity for kids and grown-ups alike!

Scaffold Art

Earlier this spring, Armour Equipment held Calgary’s first scaffold design competition. Step right up to see the winning design, as this parking lot is transformed into an outdoor art gallery of industrial proportion!

The Sky’s the Limit

Free hot air balloon rides and the chance to make your own kite are just part of the reason to check out the site for the Arts, Recreation & Community Hub (ARCH) on International Avenue during Beakerhead. Make it dinner. Food and beverage vendors will be on site!


Where: All over Calgary

When: From Wednesday, September 14 through Sunday, September 18

Ticket and full event details: beakerhead.com