Wonderspaces 2017

Museum | San Diego

Another pop up museum but this time in San Diego!  Wonderspaces! I just can’t get enough of these temporary trendy exhibitions.  A couple weeks ago I visited 14th factory in LA. 


Wonderspaces is a pop-up museum located in Mission Valley, San Diego, California.  It’s a random big tent with airdancers flagging people down in the middle of a field.  


Related: Desert X 2017 | Coachella Valley, California

Plan a Visit



You can buy tickets online or at the door, however I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying them online because they do sell out, especially on the weekend (but even you weekdayers,  My sister went on a week night and some of the times were already sold out).


Unluckily my group and I went there on Saturday 4pm only to find out they didn’t have another opening until 7:30 pm, which for us was a blessing in disguise.  



Adult: $24

Child (3-12): $16

Student (with ID): $20

Military (with ID): $20

Senior (60+): $20

What you'll see at Wonderspaces

» Pulse Portal «


Created by Davis McCarty, Pulse Portal is made from futuristic dichroic acrylic.  This pieces was the welcoming archway at Burning Man in 2016.


The perfect welcoming piece, Pulse Portal is a beauty.  I was lucky enough to see it during the day and night and it is definitely a different experience.  It reflects like and color, giving a hologram look.


Pro Tip: I highly suggest visiting Wonderspaces around 7pm to see the arch at golden hour and again when you finish seeing the museum at night.





» On Tilt «


Created by Charles Bierk and Spencer Cathcart, On Tilt is an airdancer party and was previously displayed at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Canada.


An installation where there is no attendant telling you not to touch the art or warning you to stay 10 feet away?! Say what?!  You will enjoy this piece more than you expect. We all see these airdancers at car dealerships and stores trying to get our attention as we drive, but to have a field with them is a completely different story.  


Wonderspaces had a contest, #wonderspacesdanceparty, where people can post videos dancing with the On Tilt dancers.  You can find some of these creative videos on Instagram.


» Neon Tunnel «


Created by Kitsch Nitsch, Neon Tunnel is pretty self explanatory.  


It gets pretty trippy walking down the tunnel with the neon paint and the warp illusion.  It’s the walkway leading guests from the ticket desk to the center of the museum. It’s kind of like being transported into another dimension, especially since the immersive VR exhibit awaits at the other side.



» Rainbow Museum:  You + Your Shadows «


Created by Danielle Strle, You + Your Shadow is a room with different color lights projecting on a white wall.  Visitors become the art piece and are suggested to take a step in front of the light and look at their colorful shadows.


This is a fun, interactive piece, definitely a photo opt.  It’s fun thinking about how the ever changing, colorful lights, bring your shadow to life.  It’s a reminder that light and color is all around us, moving and surrounding us.


When I went to see this piece, these two girls were enjoying themselves by playing with their shadows and it just reminded me of being a kid.  Children see things with so much vibrance and curiosity. The shadows remind me of Peter Pan or playing shadow tag on the blacktop during lunch as a kid.  


For me, this piece is about the joys of looking back.



» Sweepers Clock «


Created by Maarten Baas, is a film of two men sweeping garbage, clockwise, in real time.  It is part of Baas’s Real Time series, a set of four works in which people’s action mimic the movement of traditional clocks and present the passage of time as highly physical, even labor-intensive process.  Sweepers Clock has been shown around the world, debuting first at Salone de Mobile Milan and going to MoMA and Dutch Design Week. It won an award in 2016 at ArtPrize.


How?!  At first I was like, two men sweeping, then I realized that it was a clock and it was the same time as I had on my watch.  As a minute passes the men finish sweeping the trash a couple inches to show an aeriel view of the current time. I seriously want to know if these guys ever get replaced during the 12 hours they created this video.  It is such a clever idea.


Once you see this, you’ll never hear the phrase “That’s a waste of time!” the same.


» ADA – Analog Interactive Installation «


Created by Karina Smigla0Bobinski is inspired by Ada Lovelace, a pioneer of computer science.  An interactive installation consisting of a large helium-filled globe studded with charcoal pieces which floats freely in the room, making strikingly black markings on the white walls.


This piece is VERY messy.  One touch of the ball your hands will be covered in black charcoal.  It’s a very fun piece since you are able to move it around and hit the walls.  Please watch where you push the ball and please watch out for the ball if you are standing in the room.  You can get knocked down.


I love how interactive it is and how the artist want us, the visitors, to create something.  If one of the walls is displayed and you didn’t know how it was created, yeah, a critic might be like, “How is this art? I can make that,”  but the point is that numerous people made this “mess,” a beautiful mess.


I am forever a collaborator in this piece.

» A Religious Experience «


Created by Adam Belt, A Religious Experience is described as:


“During solemn high mass a censer filled with incense is swung emitting smoke symbolizing the rising prayers of the congregation. The fragrant smoke spreads throughout the church and light from our nearest star, the sun, shines through a stained glass window and is manifest as shafts of light. Light has often been associated with the sacred, the infinite, spirituality, and God. Light rays specifically have and continue to be used as symbols in many works of art to allude to the supernatural.


Likewise, the night sky and its humbling array of stars and galaxies incite similar allusions to the infinite and to the sacred. Our collective understanding of the cosmos continues to exponentially increase as scientists make numerous discoveries that expound our sense of awe. Adding to our growing perception are images from satellites and telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field Image, providing a visual representation of scale not available until this present age. Light and a representation of the night sky are brought together in A Religious Experience to create a newly contextualized experience informed by the experiences and presumptions of the visitor.


Similar to religious reliquaries that contain pieces of a sacred object or person, the reliquaries present in the entrance contain ‘pieces’ of light. Sunlight is translated into two different light phenomena in the reliquaries by way of batteries charged by solar panels. In the first, Cloudbreak, a light shines through condensation that changes every day depending on temperature and air pressure. The second, Light Rays, contains individual rays of light. (Source)”


My favorite piece, A Religious Experience was just so powerful.  First off, it’s just so cool! I felt like I was in space.



» Sweet Spot «


Created by Shawn Causet and Mark Daniell, Sweet spot is a meditation on color with 3700 thin multicolor nylon cords hanging from a handmade ceiling to floor.  The installation was made using 19 miles of cord, with the help of 80 volunteers in Indianapolis, contributing 1000 hours. What a team effort! The motion of the views activated


“The motion of the viewer activates the piece as every change in perspective reveals new color harmonies. The flickering effect compels the viewer to slow down as the eye registers shifts in color. The viewer may find their own ‘sweet spot’ of resonating color relationships as they relate one perspective to another.” (Source)


The beauty of this piece is the ever changing nature of it. Every view is different, with different colors and moods.


Art tip:  Look straight at the piece so that you can only see the vertical strings in view and quickly move your head horizontally to the left or right.  For a better experience move your whole body, zooming in one direction horizontally. You’ll see the colors move and get lost in them. Make sure there aren’t too many people there and please watch your step.  You’ll look ridiculous while you move the colors but it’s a unique experience.


Photo tip:  Have strings between you and the photographer.   It’s cool shot because it looks like you there are colored streaks in front of you.



» The Last Word «


Created by Illegal Art, the Last Word encapsulates private moments of unspoken words in hundreds of tightly rolled pieces of paper.  One side of the paper rolls are dyed red while the other is untouched. A cardboard honeycomb wall houses the pieces of paper. The piece starts out with all the white ends sticking out and the audience is encouraged to take a roll, write down their “last words” and place back the paper with the red side facing out.  The public can write down their regrets, thoughts and advice or read other’s “last words.”


My favorite scroll was one with “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” lyrics from Mulan (*goes to spotify and places the song will typing the rest of this post*).  I just couldn’t stop laughing.


However, most of the scrolls were more serious, with more rage about people getting mad at other people for doing things or not doing things.  A couple were sad.



» Daydream v2 «


Created by NONOTAK studio, “Daydream is an audiovisual installation that generates space distortions and plays with the relationship between space and time, accelerations, contractions, shifts and metamorphosis. (Source)”  This piece has traveled thought the world at festivals such as Pop Austen, Istanbul Light Festival, Lux Festival and Biela Noc Slovakia.


The piece is hypnotizing. It is constantly changing shapes and not pictured below is the fact that there are actually two screens, side by side.



» Blooms «


Created by John Edmark, Bloom is a kinetic sculpture that uses light and mathematical precision.


Another hypnotizing piece, it’s amazing how math is used to design this piece.  The object experiences metamorphosis, growing, shifting and constantly moving.


Photo tip:  It might be difficult to take a clear picture of Blooms since it’s moving.  I’d suggest taking a a quick video and enjoining the piece.



» Come Together «


Created by Michael Murphy, Come Together is a hanging sculpture made out of 2,165 painted wooden dowels that become pixels of an image from a vantage point.  The viewer sees a woman’s first.


What a powerful piece!  Come Together has so much deeper meaning to it.  One interpretation is that there are different people who come together to stand for a common cause.





» On a Human Scale «


Created by Matthew Matthew, On a Human Scale is a ongoing mission to create a fully playable instrument of humanity, using the voices of everyday New Yorkers.  Each New Yorker was filmed singing an individual note that was linked to a piano and the public is invited to play the piano. From amateur key banger to musical prodigy, each pianist brings the installation to life in this immersive audio visual experience.  It melds music, film, people and technology into a living, breathing, singing cross section of humanity. (Source)


What a creative idea!  When I visited, I wished there was a person who actually knew how to play piano.  I played when I was younger but only finished up until level 2, after I cried to my parents to let me stop.  So if you are a pianist, play away!


*Sorry I don’t have a picture of the installation.   I was too busy playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars.



» Not Myself Today «


An initiative of Partners for Mental Health, Not Myself Today is a social movement to bring awareness to mental health.  Guest are encouraged to take a pin of how they are feel from happy to sad, from meh to blah, from stressed to inspired.


It would’ve been cool to experiment and really see how people take pins.  When I was viewing them. There was a lot of sad, worried or sensitive buttons still on the wall while feelings that are associated with more positive emotions such as happy, inspired and awesome were taken.  I’m not sure if it was because people did actually take all the happier pins or because an attendant just restocked the sadder pins. I’m pretty sure it’s the former but with guess that’s why there was less happy pins displayed it exemplifies how people will wear the positive pins over the negative pins.  Mental health is a very important issue with more and more individuals dealing with depression.


Humans are quick to judge and at the same time are hypocritical.  We tell people it’s okay to talk about their feelings but then some times we complain about how another individual keeps complaining about their problems.  


If you are experiencing depression or any other mental problems it’s important to get professional help. Family and friends are important but they aren’t professionally trained and some times it might cause stress to a loved one.



Virtual Reality


What made Wonderspaces different from any other museum I’ve gone to thus far was the virtual reality pieces.  There are 3 different experiences that guest can try out, Show it 2 Me, Transition and Sonar.


Pro Tip:  Right when you get into the museum go straight to the counter to sign up for the wait list.  Depending on how many people are in front of you for an experience, you’ll have to wait for a while.  The nice thing is that they text you when you’re close to the front of the line.


I suggest signing up and then taking your time exploring the museum.  Come back when they text you and then sign up for another one.


If you do finish seeing Wonderspaces, they have fun puzzles at the tables in the middle.  



Show it 2 Me

Created by Chris Pynoski and Antonio Canobbio, Show it 2 me is an interactive VR music video created using Tilt Brush’s audio reactive brushes and features Night Club’s single, “Show It 2 Me.”  Not only are you in the music video, you can draw in 4D. (I was too busy swirling my brush around and making spheres. You can even grab virtual swords and throw them too!)



Created by Mike von Rotz and Joost Jordens, Transition is a VR based on the music of Kettel & Secede.  It is a metaphor for death, and takes you on a journey to the next world.



Created by Philipp Maas, Sonar is a sci-fi VR experience.




» Thoughts «


Overall, I enjoyed Wonderspaces very much.  There were interactive pieces, immersive pieces and of course, Virtual Reality.  It is a new technology and it was fun to finally get to try it out. From the outside, the museum looks small but between waiting to try out the VR to walking around the museum you can spend a good 2-3 hours in there.  Though it is annoying to get timed tickets, it definitely helps alleviate crowding because it is very popular. Luckily for anyone who is reading this when it is published, the initial end date was July 30th, but they extended it to August 27th.  Go make a trip to Wonderspaces!


Thank you Wonderspaces!


The Iridescent Wings by Justine Alonzo


Pop Up Museum | Virtual Reality | Dance Party

» Experienced: July 15, 2017 «

» Last Updated: May 23, 2018 «

Tags: Pop-up Museum | What to do in San Diego

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Justine is the founder of The Iridescent Wings, a blog all about chasing an adventure near and far. She is a Southern Californian and gives local tips on LA, OC and SD, from her favorites to what's trending. You can also catch her on a flight to other parts of the United States, Europe, Asia and beyond.
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