Solar SunFlowers at the Exploratorium Oct 7th

Sol System at the Exploratorium
Sol System at the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium will soon move to Piers 15 and 17 on the San Francisco Embarcadero.   They are in the process of creating and environmentally friendly new home and  solar power will be a part of their efforts.  Before the big move, they are featuring exhibits that help visitors explore ideas of energy  and  power use, and to kick it off,  the October 7th “After Dark: Sol Systems” will feature Solar SunFlowers.

Black Rock Solar and the Sunpower Foundation, together with Cynthia Washburn and Patrick Shearn and their  team at Poetic Kinetics, are creating two solar powered, kinetic sunflowers that will open gently in the morning as the sun rises, track the sunlight during the day, and close again each night. The multi-colored flowers will be 22 feet tall at their full height and will sense when people sit down at their bases, automatically leaning over to provide shade. The flowers will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology and will draw people into their space with an unprecedented visual allure. The SunFlower project is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere, blending large-scale interactive art and cutting-edge technology in an immersive educational experience designed to change the way people think about renewable energy.

“After Dark: Sol Systems”

Thursday, October 7, 2010 through Sunday October 10th

at the Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco

Other participants include a bunch of  DIY electric cars, a small aquaponic company called Kijiji Grows (  and solar power sewer  Paul Nosa ( who also participated in the Exploratorium’s August After Dark event, Nomadic Communities.   Hogg Island Oysters will be served while you find out about biology of  oyster and ecology of sustainable oyster farming. The night will also feature bamboo bikes and electric motorcycles as well as demos by staff scientists about electromagnetism and hydrogen.

For more information, visit their site at

Solar Sunflowers
Solar Sunflowers

The Solar SunFlowers will be installed at schools, events, and festivals throughout the course of the year, at different locations across the country. The first installation will be at the Exploratorium where students and teachers will experience the SunFlowers first-hand: learning about renewable energy and technology, climate change, solar power, and green jobs. The SunFlowers will then be transported to destinations throughout California and the United States, where audiences from school kids to solar professionals and government officials will have the chance to interact with the SunFlowers.


Black Rock Solar has teamed up with the SunPower Foundation to make this project possible. Black Rock Solar is honored to be one of three partners in the SunPower Foundation Projects — created to empower, motivate, and inspire a new generation of renewable energy leaders to bring solar power to their communities around the world. For more information, and to “Make An Impact,” go to the SunPower Foundation’s Facebook page.

SunPower believes that education is the first step toward change, and the SunPower Foundation partners with different organizations to make change happen. Check out the solar lesson plans and Solar Education Resources on their website to learn how to introduce solar education into schools and community organizations.

“Having a positive impact is simpler than you think. Together we can raise awareness and encourage the use of clean, renewable solar energy. Learn more about SunPower Foundation projects, watch our videos, and become a solar advocate in your community.”

Black Rock Solar and the SunPower Foundation share the same goals and believe the SunFlower Project will reach thousands and thousands of people with our message.



Patrick Shearn was raised in a vibrantly creative household where most of his family members were artists. In that environment he was infused with passion, imagination and ingenuity but perhaps more importantly, the notion that the process is as important as the final result of a creative endeavor.  From that position he embraces collaboration and values life experience above all else.  After working in film for fifteen years, he has gone on to to create and build a wide array of custom kinetic props, set pieces, and thematic environments requiring his unique and innovative engineering expertise.  Patrick excels at forming teams of people who work together to accomplish a goal beyond any one persons capability.

Cynthia Washburn is inspired by the patterns, contrast, movement and balance of the natural world.  In her creative work she strives to explore these elements in relation to inorganic things.  She is fascinated by the multifaceted essence of both objects and ideas, and enjoys playing with those layers in her writing, artwork, direction and design.  Cynthia’s diverse background spans science, programming, production management, culinary arts, design, theater, dance, and an assortment of mixed media works.

Patrick and Cynthia live at The Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles.

Poetic Kinetics came to life in 2008 as the evolution of a decade long collaboration between skilled artists in diverse realms.  With a wide base of expertise and an ongoing desire to find unique creative expressions, PK approaches each new endeavor with extraordinary creativity, unique collaboration, playful enthusiasm and a commitment to the highest professionalism and production value.

Poetic Kinetics specializes in large-scale creative artwork and experiences:  concept, design & direction, fabrication, execution and beyond.

The Solar Sunflowers were brought to life via the vision, hard work and extreme know-how of an amazing team of contributing artists, engineers & designers, to whom Patrick & Cynthia are forever grateful:
Syd Klinge
Juli Gudmundson
James Peterson
Steven Lassovszky
Dru Leggiero
Hillary Sepp
Jessika Vermette
Teale Hatheway
Paul Clemente
Jordan Paul
Avo Soltes
Travis Johnson (Jupiter)
Vanessa Bonet
Derek Welsh
Phillip Glau
D. Evan Brown

Rockstars, every one.

Directions to the Exploratorium are here

About the author: Moze


John Mosbaugh aka Moze is a SF Bay Area heretic and writer who's been hauling himself out to Black Rock City since the Nebulous Entity first beckoned him to check out this phenomenon known as Burning Man. Moze is a "Life Collector" who scribbles down encounters with you to share on the blog. He enjoys the hyper reality of that week in the desert enough to keep coming back. He's been on the Burning Man web team since aught two and has written for Piss Clear and the YEP (Yahoo Education Project). He doesn't speak for the org and he finds you fascinating. He celebrates you and loves it when you take away ideas from Burning Man and share them with the rest of the world. He likes to make grilled cheese on Burn Night afternoon and gift it to you because you're probably hungry. Moze is a big fan of fire, art, freedom and community.

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