A galaxy far, far away and a reality extremely close to home come together in the interactive, interstellar Star Wars Identities exhibition, making its world premiere at the Montreal Science Centre this week…
Star Wars Identities wows with high-tech displays of over 200 original objects from the Lucasfilm Archives – including costumes, models and production art, as well as clips from all six films – while asking visitors of all ages to explore that big universal question “Who am I?”
Before stepping into the first room of the darkened exhibition space, lit only with glowing blue lights – just like space! – each visitor puts on an electronic bracelet and audio-guide headset. And the game begins! The bracelet activates interactive panels throughout the exhibition that prompt us to answer questions about Star Wars characters we relate to, our reactions to certain situations, and so forth, while the headset leads us to science-y fun facts about genetics, brain chemistry and human behaviour. The bracelet even remembers our names, which rather than seeming gimmicky, is a necessary nice touch – Star Wars Identities is all about who we are, after all.
Of course, Star Wars Identities is also about what kind of Star Wars fans we are. As a fan and child of the ‘70s myself, I almost immediately gave up my composure. Maybe it was the models of R2-D2 and Yoda, maybe it was seeing a full-size Han Solo in carbonite, maybe it was the clip of Luke meeting Obi-Wan for the first time. Even all the regalia from the new movies, which I know kids these days are all into, impressed me – like, how could I not be impressed by a giant pod-racer complete with sound effects?
Great thought and time has obviously gone into Star Wars Identities, a collaborative effort by Star Wars’ official creator Lucasfilm, Montreal-based production group X3 Productions and Montreal-based scientific advisors in the fields of neuropsychology, psychology and biochemistry. The exhibition is much more than a showcase for Star Wars (though it’s a great showcase) – it’s an investigation into the movies’ archetypal characters, so there’s plenty of depth here that even kids can get into, with questions and information about why we are who we are and how we make meaning and connections in our lives. Of course, seeing my larger-than-life-size personal composite Star Wars avatar at the end was pretty simply awesome.
Star Wars Identities, April 19 to September 16, 2012
Montreal Science Centre, 2 de la Commune Street West, (514) 496-4724
Photos: Susan Moss