Arts / Museums

Houston’s Newest Museum is an Interactive, Otherworldly Playground — Step Into Seismique

Sensory Overload in an Instagram Palace

BY // 12.28.20

The holiday season has seen the arrival of a new interactive museum in Houston. Say hello to Seismique, a 40,000-square-foot space filled with more than 40 mind-bending exhibits. 

The otherworldly gallery — an alternate dimension generated by 9 million LEDs, vibrant colors, eclectic sounds and natural elements is now open in West Houston at 2306 Highway 6 South. Talk about an artful repurposing of a big box retailer, as the permanent museum transforms the cavernous space of a former Bed Bath & Beyond. 

Seismique is designed to spark curiosity and inspire exploration — with all ages welcome. 

Co-owners Steve Kopelman and Josh Corley polished their engineering skills while working at Escape the Room. For Seismique, they recruited 50 talented artists to create a dynamic expression of multisensory art. 

“Corley and I have been inspired and influenced by many artists before us and from our travels throughout the world,” Kopelman says in a statement. “Seismique is a singular manifestation of our collective imaginations.”

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Tampa-based Joshuah Jest’s “Brainwash” — an ode to the father of video art, Nam June Paik. (Photo by Madeline Coats)

Seismique features cutting-edge technological components, including projection mapping, holograms, augmented reality, light mapping, motion tracking and gamification. Forty motion-tracking cameras by Microsoft Kinect Azures and Real Sense further animate the gallery.

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Although this museum is very interactive, COVID-19 precautions are being taken. Masks are required, hand sanitization stations are available, and all interactive elements are routinely sanitized by a misting system. Visitors can also enjoy a touch-free adventure using the savvy Seismique mobile app, which includes a virtual map. 

“This year has been exceedingly difficult for the whole world, and we want Seismique to serve as something of a pandemic panacea — a place where visitors can transport themselves to another realm and find creative inspiration through the different exhibits,” Kopelman says. 

Now, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at the magical wonderland. 

Behind the Scenes at Seismique

Visitors begin in a lobby whose black-and -white color scheme cleanses the artistic palate. “I was inspired by a small cafe I saw in Seoul Korea,” Kopelman tells PaperCity. “We wanted to avoid color in the lobby because there is a sensory overload when you get inside.” 

The journey begins with “The Color Portal,” an illuminated path that leads to the dazzling displays.

The largest installation at Seismique is The Hub, a 70-foot spaceship with colorful walls designed by artists Kai Ussin (of Houston) and Shokka. Fog-filled bubbles float throughout the space, which is perfect for special events. A staff favorite is “The Acid Rain Room” designed by Mark Roberts. This room is an optical illusion that mimics rainfall. 

Venus is a multicolored crochet that emulates a huge hammock. Japanese sculptor of immersive environments, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, invites everyone to climb and play on this magnificent installation. 

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Transport back to your childhood playground days and experience “Venus” by Japanese-born Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. (Photo by Christopher Brielmaier)

The Avatar-inspired Eden is perfect for any budding influencer’s Instagram. Filled with humongous trees, the installation’s blacklight reactive paint splashes the room pop with neon. Alien holograms add an extraterrestrial effect. 

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Seismique’s “Avatar”-inspired exhibit “Eden” is the perfect place for your next Instagram post, because the blacklight reactive paint really makes the neon colors pop. (Photo by Madeline Coats)

In Alien Grass, curved mirrors create an infinity effect, and 200 LED globes make for an irresistible photo op. Pro tip: Touching certain bulbs triggers a fun surprise. 

Two hundred LED globes make “Alien Grass” an irresistible photo op. (Photo by Madeline Coats)

After a day of exploring, there are food and beverages available at Cosmique Cafe and souvenirs at the gift shop

Seismique, 2306 Highway 6 South, Houston, 346.202.6006, is open every day of the week but Tuesdays. Info here. Tickets, available online, are $35 for adults and $28 for kids 12 and under.

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