16 December 2017 - 3 February 2019
  • Exhibition
Special exhibition time
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Can we compress time, stretch it, freeze it or run it backwards? From 16.12.2017 to 03.02.2019 the Science Center phaeno in Wolfsburg is showcasing a major special exhibition on the fascinating subject of time for the first time. Visitors can experience how time suddenly stands still – or how it flies by at breakneck speed! There are six different time zones to discover:

  • • Time visible: experience several months in a few seconds
  • • Time extended: watch a drop of water as it falls with a super-slow motion camera
  • • Time compacted: see how a mushroom grows with a fast-motion camera
  • • Time segmented: freeze moments with strobe flashes
  • • Time redirected: hear yourself talking backwards
  • • Time artistry: create beautiful time-light drawings

The spectrum of exhibits includes unique works of art that stimulate visitors to philosophize about time and engrossing hands-on stations to interact with.

Visible time: an exhibition highlight

One special highlight is an artistic exhibit on the progress of time: a camera is installed on the roof of phaeno that shoots a picture in the direction of the harbor basin every ten seconds over the period of a year. The image is dissected vertically into several parts. A film of one of the days that has been captured on camera runs in each of these sections. At a glance, the visitor can see the images from yesterday and at the same time those from, for instance, June 12th or August 8th, 2017. "Weather phenomena and changes in the position of the sun are thus made visible in an impressive way," as curator Dominik Essing explains.

Extended time

Visitors can also take a precise look at time, so to speak under the microscope. A high-speed camera shoots 4000 images per second. With the aid of this camera, visitors see slow-motion film sequences of mousetraps breaking up spaghetti or how their own skin moves when they shake their head.
This special high-speed camera, along with others used in a workshop, has been sponsored by the community foundation Bürgerstiftung Wolfsburg. Managing Director Manfred Hüller explains: "Since its establishment, the Bürgerstiftung has been increasingly targeting children and young people with its funding support and activities. Education in the field of natural sciences is a particular focus. As a sponsor/partner of the special "TIME" exhibition in phaeno we are pursuing these aspects in a lasting and exceptional manner."

Compacted time

In the other direction, with the fast-motion camera, one can speed up time and watch how a mushroom grows: The mushroom emerges from the tree trunk, spreads out its cap and ripens to full size – and then decays. A whole lifespan – viewed in just a few seconds!

Time segmented: experiment with strobe flashes

If everything is too fast for the human eye, a strobe flash can help. "The flashing light allows visitors to follow the motion of helicopter rotors in a sequence of snapshots," as Dominik Essing explains.

Time redirected: hear yourself talking backwards

In the forwards-backwards game, visitors can even turn time upside down. Both young and old try pronouncing their name backwards in such a way that it sounds correct when played back forwards. In this popular children's game, one can start off with simple palindrome words like "madam" or "kayak" and delve deeper into the game from then on.

Time artistry

A lot of fun is guaranteed for both children and adults alike in the big Luma2solator installed by the Dutch artist group PipsLab. Visitors to the exhibit can create their own light graffiti with light bars to music. The blurred drawings trace a period of time and the sharp images depict a moment. Both together create a work of time art. In addition, the aesthetics of dance have been effectively captured by the Japanese artist Akinori Goto in his work "Toki Ballet". The sculpture was donated to the exhibition by the Friends of phaeno e.V. You can get an impression at https://vimeo.com/193223122.

Time technical

How time finds application or how it plays a role in our technical world is demonstrated by further experimental stations in the exhibition. The only correct mechanical timepiece comes – where else? – from Switzerland. It works by means of a fascinating marble run game! "The passing of time can rarely be observed in such a beautiful way," Essing insists. Further exhibits give visitors a chance to test out how the speed of light can be measured or why it's difficult to control a moon robot due to the time delay involved.

Where does time come from? – In collaboration with the Physical-Technical Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig

To approach the question "Where does time come from?", the creators of the exhibition were able to involve a prominent scientific authority from the neighborhood. In collaboration with the PTB in Braunschweig, a thoroughly novel exhibit has been created. Sitting back relaxed in a special armchair, one can select six brand new films about the theme of time, which have been specially developed for the exhibition. If one is prepared to take a little time, one can discover where and how time is "made" in Germany. For example, one can enjoy a "flight" through the famous atomic clock hall at the PTB institute.

What is time?

"Time is what the clock says", Albert Einstein once said as he tried to explore the essence of time. Even though its essence may be hard to grasp, some of the fascinating characteristics and phenomena of time can be grippingly and playfully experienced in this new special exhibition.

The latest information about the exhibition, which can be seen at phaeno up until February 3rd, 2019, can be found at www.phaeno.de/zeit


phaeno gGmbH

The world of phenomena Germany’s unique experimental landscape

The inquisitive and the curious can tangibly experience, actively experiment with and interactively explore over 350 phenomena at phaeno Wolfsburg. Tornados, antigravity forces, magnetic levitation trains and luminous gases awaken a fascination for the enigmas and phenomena of nature and technology. There’s something to experience at phaeno for everyone – whether a specialist or just plain interested in the world around us.