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Pop-Up Plaza “Experiments in People Watching” Debuts July 1

For Immediate Release:
July 01, 2013

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Pop-Up Plaza “Experiments in People Watching” Debuts July 1

Exploring the dynamics of social behavior along the Embarcadero
Between Piers 15 and 9


In preparation for the summer of America’s Cup races and final September matches, San Francisco’s Exploratorium and the Rebar Art and Design Studio are creating a public space laboratory called, Experiments in People-Watching, which instruments and enlivens the most popular of urban activities—people watching. Funded by the Port of San Francisco and situated at the marginal wharf between the Exploratorium at Pier 15 and Pier 9, this free public space is structured around reconfigurable and interactive seating that offers visitors an opportunity to view and explore the dynamics of social behavior. Opening July 1, 2013, for six months, the site will also feature a collection of activities that will help people—visitors and locals alike—notice and evaluate the social signals given by the people around them. As they enjoy the parade of passers-by along the Embarcadero, they can discover something about those who live, work, and visit here.


Shawn Lani, Exploratorium studio lead, observes, “People traveling to a new city are particularly primed to notice cultural and social mores of the resident population, in particular, how people are different from the folks back home. Examining the local character is a natural and gratifying part of being a tourist. Of course, people-watching is also part of our everyday life—the way, as social beings, we navigate relationships with others.”

The centerpieces of the space are two different constructions of modular lounging, tied together by a bold, graphic pattern painted on the asphalt. One seating configuration consists of two intersecting “social circles” of benches on tracks, which can be slid around for bay-viewing, people-watching, or interaction among sitters. The other construction is a “social spirograph,” which consists of a long main axis from which users can pull out individual arms of benches for solo or group seating. Each arm moves independently from the others, leaving chalk tracings on the ground — recording the way people have chosen to organize their social interactions, including their proximity from others.

The installation at Pier 15 and 9 is complemented at the east end of the Embarcadero with a companion space at Pier 24-1/2. Directly under the Bay Bridge, it features generous seating, an elevated perch, and greenery to allow better views and appreciation of the Bay and the social life of the Embarcadero.

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367