Scaffold Art with Science Borealis

Science Borealis discovers Pegasus, by Artur Karlov, winner of the Armour Equipment Scaffold Art Competition.

Photo:Johanna Hung

Photo:Johanna Hung

Beakerhead is wildly entertaining, but it sure ain’t mindless.

By Lisa Willemse, guest blogger at Science Borealis

Every year, Calgary hosts an event centred around cowboys and bucking broncos and tents full of brew. It’s been dubbed ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, but I beg to differ.

Calgary does host the greatest show on earth, but it’s not the Stampede. It’s Beakerhead. Never heard of it? Now you have. And if you ever go to this wild, colourful mashup of technology, art and science, you won’t soon forget it.

Beakerhead is spread out across Calgary, mostly within the city’s core, and a good many of the events are free. Art-based installations poke out from buildings and offer contemplation in city parks. Interactive demos allow the public a chance to try new technology or understand the science of things. Ticketed events get more in-depth, with science storytelling, and explorations of spice, scent and the perfection of the chocolate chip cookie. Over four days last week, I put a lot of miles onto my pink sneakers taking in as many of its street installations and events as possible, but I’m sure it was less than half of what was on offer.

I still haven’t fully digested everything I did take in, but that’s the beauty of this event – it’s a feast for the stomach, the eyes, the ears… but also for the mind.

One of the more delightful revelations came from a very unexpected source: a lone sculpture sitting in a parking lot alongside Memorial Drive (not its permanent home, a permanent location is being sought).

It’s a winged stallion made out of scaffolding.

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