Some people might claim that the distance stretching between the treasures of the past and the wonders of the future is a vast stretch measured in years, or decades, or even centuries.
But we here in Southern California know that particular distance is exactly 7.9 miles. That's about what you'll add to your odometer if you drive from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
Of course, you could squash the past and the future in one single instant, and you don't even need a time machine to do so. How? By visiting the new "Orbit Pavilion," a NASA-created "sound experience" that's set to debut at The Huntington's Celebration Garden on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Visual strategists from JPL, working with the architecture firm StudioKCA, developed the aluminum-covered, shell-shaped installation, a sculpture-like structure that represents "the movement of the International Space Station and 19 earth satellites through artistically created sounds."
Wowza. There aren't enough "neatos" in our language, or "neato" synonyms, truly. So one "neato" must suffice, for now.
"We wanted a way to showcase NASA satellites—to bring them down to earth, if you will," said Dan Goods of JPL, the co-creator of the pavilion (along with visual strategist David Delgado. "Orbit is the conduit for that experience, bringing people into contact with the satellites as they move above us in space."
Another "neato" is surely called for at this juncture.
"Orbit Pavilion," which will remain at the gardens from Oct. 29, 2016 through Feb. 27, 2017, includes 28 interior speakers broadcasting "a new kind of symphony."
Those symphonic sounds will delve into "each of the satellites' various missions: among them a human voice, the crashing of a wave, a tree branch moving, a frog croaking." The aural flow is the work of Shane Myrbeck, a sound artist from Oakland. (Cheers, too, to Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of StudioKCA, the designers behind the curve-cool, walk-in pavilion.)
"Orbit Pavilion" and The Huntington's new NASA partnership is part of the fresh project called "Five," which encompasses the landmark's commitment to pairing up with five outside collaborators on a host of mind-opening, heart-gratifying works. Works that'll span the next half decade.
Let's throw a dozen more "neatos" out there at that news, and the notion that the future and the past can indeed meet up, and shall, with style and sound, in San Marino.
And, really, isn't NASA a bit about the past? As what we see and hear in space hails from eons ago? And isn't The Huntington about the future, with all of those seeds and saplings that find a home there?
Ponder that twist as you visit outer space via the leafiest launch pad ever.