Marv Newland CMYK, 2011 Handmade animation and collage transferred to video, color, sound 7:16 min. © 2011 National Film Board of Canada

Marv Newland, CMYK, 2011, handmade animation and collage transferred to video, color, sound, 7:16 min. © 2011 National Film Board of Canada

Screening Room

Visible Light

Bold filmmakers use a wide array of cinematic techniques and materials to illuminate the chromatic spectrum through the moving image.

Visible Light studies how the relationship between light and color, joined naturally within the human eye, is reconstructed mechanically through film. The short films in the program reveal processes of color representation via the cinematic medium, either as a frenetic physical property or as a serene phenomenon. 

The program is split into two parts which run sequentially on a loop. In Aberration, a variety of physical and photochemical experiments dissect the chroma of light, exploring the process of shifting spectrums and the perversion of color representation. In Meditation, the colors on the screen invoke contemplation and a renewed sense of seeing that stems from the artists’ hues, moods, and expressions. 

Visible Light is guest curated by the Exploratorium’s film curators Sam Sharkland, Liz Keim, and Kathleen Maguire. The program is presented in conjunction with Color Code, the concurrent exhibition that celebrates the many ways that artists use color in their practice. 



Emily Scaife
Attraction, 2019

Tomonari Nishikawa
45 7 Broadway, 2013

Lillian Schwartz
3 Degree K #2, 1982

Julie Buck and Karin Segal
Girls on Film, 2006

Maria Constanza Ferreira
Hillocks, 2021

Marv Newland
CMYK, 2011

Esther Urlus
Alfred, 2020

Kerry Laitala
Terra Incognita, 2009

Jodie Mack
Glistening Thrills, 2013

Jonathan Gillie
Study in Color and Form, 2015


Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vanagt
In Waking Hours, 2015

Paul Clipson
Light Year, 2013

Wenhua Shi
Because the Sky is Blue, 2020

Yuge Zhou
when the East of the day meets the West of the night, 2020

Larry Cuba
Two Space, 1979


Sam Sharkland is a Senior Program Developer at the Exploratorium with over 15 years of experience in curation, film exhibition, and event production. They aspire to cultivate communal experiences that broaden perspectives and challenge perceptions. In addition to curating short film programs for adult and family audiences, Sharkland co-produces expanded cinema events and leads experimental cinema education programs for teen and university level groups. Sharkland holds a BA in Media Studies from the University of San Francisco.

Liz Keim is the Director of Cinema Arts and Senior Curator at the Exploratorium. She founded the Cinema Arts Program and film collection in 1983 focused on the transformative nature of film at the intersection of the arts and sciences. She is published in Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theaters, a collection of literary essays on the city’s cinema culture, and her film In the Red has screened internationally. Keim co-taught film courses at the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Art Institute, has served on many local film juries, and has curated numerous cinema programs internationally.

Kathleen Maguire is the Manager of Public Programs at the Exploratorium, where she designs science and arts-based programming for intergenerational audiences and works closely with artists to craft performances, artworks, and engagement. Her projects at the Exploratorium include Glow, which explored large-scale light art and Field of View: Mapping Emerging Technologies, a series of temporal engagements examining cutting-edge use of immersive technologies in science and the arts. She previously worked at the American Museum of Natural History and is a graduate of NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program.

Visible Light is guest curated by Sam Sharkland, Liz Keim, and Kathleen Maguire. The program was commissioned on the occasion of the exhibition Color Code at McEvoy Arts.