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Houston’s New Experiential Museum: Seismique

By M+E Staff

Houston’s new attraction, Seismique, is a feast for the senses. The 40,000-square-foot art-fueled experiential museum on Houston’s west side is built to capture the imagination of audiences with more than 40 unique exhibits showcasing dazzling displays of light (generated by 9 million LEDs), color, sound and natural elements.

The first-to-market arts and entertainment space features works by 24-plus established and emerging artists along with advanced technological elements like projection and light mapping, holograms, augmented reality, gamification and more.

In addition, Seismique has installed 40 motion-tracking cameras that provide additional non-contact interaction by tracking patron movement in several areas of the facility. These cameras collectively function to activate parts of the experience without a guest needing to touch anything.

Among the artists bringing Seismique to life is acclaimed Japanese crochet artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, who has been exhibiting artwork around the world since the 1960s. Horiuchi MacAdam’s awardwinning public art for kids, which began as an installation for a park in Tokyo, has evolved into a signature concept dubbed “AirPocket.” The multi-colored playscape resembles a giant hammock made of crocheted circles, open pockets, and dangling pendulums for climbing and playing.

Additional experiences at Seismique include:

  • Eden: an Avatar-inspired gallery conceived of and constructed by New Orleans artist David Carry in collaboration with Brian Val Habisreitinger. Featuring oversized carved trees, custom lighting and ultra-violet, blacklight reactive painting, the garden includes three large holograms throughout the room that come complete with alien visitors.
  • Venus: a multi-dimensional playground that emulates the surface of the planet Venus that has been hand-crocheted by Horiuchi MacAdam as one of her AirPocket concepts. It is one of only three pieces of its kind in the country. The exhibit’s structure utilizes a specially constructed net that is resilient and responsive to the slightest movement, which allows tension to be maintained as the fiber stretches, enabling safe interaction. This piece is surrounded by Chicago artist C.J. Hungerman’s mural dubbed “Ocular Existence,” which creates movement through a dynamic splash of color.
  • Acid Rain: an optical illusion by Smooth Technology that has been designed and constructed by Mark Roberts. Visitors walk through water raining from the ground up without getting wet as eerily illuminated green water walls fall from an exterior circular structure. Once inside the glowing center, the rain lets up and stops in midair.
  • The Color Portal: a vibrant pathway that guides each guest from the two-tone aesthetic of the black and white lobby into the world of colorful galleries that populate Seismique. Created and installed by Carry, The Color Portal provides a thoroughfare to many of Seismique’s spaces.
  • The Hub: a 70-foot spaceship also constructed by Carry that boasts over 1 million LEDs. The Hub is additionally enhanced by thrusters designed by Smooth Technology that drop calming bubbles filled with fog and enveloped by walls designed and painted by artists Kai Ussin and Austin Linkinhoker (artist name Shokka). As Seismique’s largest installation, The Hub will ultimately house future concerts and special events.

Masks are required, hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the facility, and all of the interactive elements are frequently and thoroughly sanitized with a state-of-theart misting system. For a completely touchless experience, guests can also utilize an integrated Seismique mobile app.

Seismique can also host private events and parties. It is available for a full facility rental, or one of its three private events spaces can be rented for smaller gatherings like birthday parties, corporate events and more during normal business hours. Each individual private event space is able to accommodate 10 people, but the three spaces can be combined and opened up to accommodate a single private event as large as 150 people. 

“I liken  Seismique  to the equivalent of walking through a portal and into an alternative universe that is a feast for the senses,” says  Seismique  creator Steve Kopelman. “This past year has been exceedingly difficult for the whole world, and we want  Seismique  to serve as something of a pandemic panacea—a place where visitors can transport themselves to another realm and find creative inspiration through the artistic manifestation of 40 different exhibits. That is a long way of saying we just want people to forget their worries and have fun, albeit in a responsible and safe environment.  

“My co-founder Josh Corley and I are both proud Houstonians, and we wanted to launch  Seismique  in our own backyard in order to enhance what is already one of the best places on Earth for art and culture. When President Kennedy gave his 1962 moon-shot speech at Rice University, he espoused the virtues of space as a vast frontier that beckons never-ending exploration. Nearly 60 years later in the same city, Seismique further embodies the limitless potential of space exploration through the lenses of art and technology.”