About Us

Supporting STEAM at Beakerhead

Bob Mack, Graphic Illustrator
Beakerhead is a multi-day festival held every September in Calgary. The festival combines the arts, science and technology sectors to encourage collaboration, innovation and education through interactive art exhibits, engineered installations, entertainment and workshops.

We see a lot of value in combining arts, culture and science to develop ideas and solutions for our communities and clients and are pleased to have continued our Beakerhead festival participation this year, which included supporting the festival site planning and performing a live graphic recording of the main event.

What is a live graphic recording? As a graphic illustrator, an artist visually records what they see and hear. Urban Systems’ graphic illustrator Bob Mack captured Beakerhead’s main event, otherwise known as The Spectacle.

Bob enjoying Beakerhead
The festival attracts everyone from couples on date night, families, teens, seniors and beyond. A giant inflated squid, illuminated jellyfish umbrellas, a 300 ft polar bear and an iron fire-breathing dragon were just some of the highlights. One of the coolest parts? Attendees were able to use a button to make the dragon breathe fire – how’s that for a bucket list activity?

It’s a highly interactive and sensory festival. Directly in front of the polar bear were several different monitors and sensors. When someone’s hand was placed on an interactive pillow attachment, the devices picked up the person’s heart rate. The sensors then projected the heart rate as colorful bands on the polar bear’s body, amplified the sound of their heartbeat, took the person’s photo and projected their portrait on its chest.

And if that doesn’t impress, there was a metal turtle that lit up and accommodated up to 24 people on its back. It even shot fire. And Bob captured it all on canvas.

The area around Bob’s drawing board was buzzing. As he drew, guests chatted with each other to share their Beakerhead experiences. “As a graphic recorder, I always find it rewarding that the work I do provides people with a common ground to share experiences and ideas,” said Bob.

Bob’s illustrations depict the energy, connections, curiosity, education and amusement that Beakerhead offers. We were so grateful to be a part of this energetic and vibrant community event and look forward to see what 2020 will offer.


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