SINGAPORE, Oct 31 — It is every geek’s dream come true: An exhibition about the science that makes superheroes possible.
At Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network), now docked at the Science Centre Singapore, you enter the Avengers training facility as a recruit and learn about the solid science that could possibly make super soldiers, multi-coloured bridges and green giants with anger management issues and a large clothing budget.
Along the way, you can do stuff such as sit on Captain America’s bike, learn about DNA in Bruce Banner’s lab, try on Iron Man’s suit through augmented reality, listen to Cobie Smulders’ voice give you instructions as Maria Hill, and test your endurance and reflexes.
The exhibition, needless to say, is the brainchild of a certifiable geek. Nicholas Cooper, chief creative officer of organiser Victory Hill Exhibitions, was a Marvel fan who, as the first Avengers movie was coming out, said to himself: “How can we create something that will allow audiences — or allow me, essentially — to just live in that universe for an hour?”
Not being a trained scientist himself, he enlisted the help of organisations such NASA and Neuroverse.
“Usually, these institutions and companies are hard to get on board for anything. There are lots of museums around the world that ask these guys. But when we rang and we said, ‘We’re doing this and this is what we’re trying to achieve,’ they were like, ‘I’ll be there this evening’,” he chuckled.
As if we needed more proof that scientists are rampant comic-book geeks at heart, Cooper recalled: “We had 14 rocket scientists from NASA in our boardroom with heaps of beer and pizza and wine.
“We watched Thor and were like, ‘How do we make this real?’ It took us nearly five hours to watch that movie — we would stop and go, ‘Well, this is an Einstein-Rosen bridge, so creating that ‘rainbow bridge’ to transport Thor would need, essentially, the power of a dying sun.’ It was awesome.
“But you really feel like the dumbest person in the room.”
Before coming to Singapore, the exhibition toured New York, Seoul, Paris and Las Vegas.
But “I think this will be one of my favourite shows (of all) we’ve ever done because it’s bigger and it’s more about characters,” Cooper said.
“This is the biggest set we’ve ever had. A lot of the time, you’re restricted by space and the partner that you’re working with. The Science Centre is an incredible institution — this is its natural environment. So, we’ve brought every scientific element we have, every new character that we could get, every Iron Man suit — everything.”
While the exhibition is scientifically educational, it’s still very much about the characters.
The people at Marvel are “some of the best storytellers of an era”, Cooper said.
“It’s great to see the shield, the weapons, the bike and stuff. But my favourite thing is what we’re able to do to bring the characters to life. For example, Marvel would give us an objective: ‘You can’t make Cap seem like he was just a juiced-up guy who got super soldier serum and just became strong. He is not Cap because he is strong. He is Cap because he has got a big heart.’
“All of those things come together to create that character — we were able to look at how increased tissue within the brain enhances all of those traits and qualities.
“For the Hulk, we were able to come up with why the Hulk is green.
“Originally it was just a printing error — it was meant to be grey — but we’ve come up with a scientific reason for why he is green.” — TODAY
* Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. runs until March 5, 10am to 6pm at the Science Centre Singapore. Tickets from S$18 to S$30 (RM54.36 to RM90.60) at Sistic.