If your five-year-old can name all the Powerpuff Girls (Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, for those keeping score) but can't explain the principle of apparent motion (the illusion of motion produced by still frames in sequence), then this exhibit is for you. Six thousand square feet of the Science Museum of Minnesota have been given over to the Cartoon Network's lineup of cel-shaded science ambassadors, who explain the technology that brings their shows to life. Demonstrating the illusion itself are hands-on praxinoscopes (the old-timey device used to rotate pictures of a bouncing ball or running stick figure) and mutoscopes (one of the earliest motion-picture machines). Your crayon-toting future Matt Groening can walk through the entire artistic process of bringing an episode to life, from sketching to storyboarding to the layering of individual cels; they'll even be able to make their own voiceovers and background music for silent animations. Kids who sit still for an episode of Samurai Jack but not science class have the option of less desk-oriented activities, ones in which their own bodies are used to produce optical illusions of hovering or running motion.
Feb. 9-April 27, 2008