"Avatar" director James Cameron says he and Paul Allen — co-founder of Seattle's Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum — "love to geek out together" about science fiction.
That friendship has led to something tangible for Seattle's sci-fi fans: "Avatar: The Exhibition," a collection of memorabilia from the 2009 blockbuster film, will be launched at the museum beginning June 4.
The exhibit will include some 40 to 50 artifacts from the film, such as costumes, props, concept models and sketches, said museum associate curator Brooks Peck.
Also included will be several interactive displays in which visitors can experiment with concepts explored by Cameron while making the film: performance capture, virtual cameras, sound design and the Na'vi language created for the film. Regular ticket prices will apply to the exhibit.
"Avatar," a science-fiction epic set in the year 2154, became the highest-grossing film of all time, both in North America and worldwide.
Cameron, in a phone interview, said he's long been a fan of EMP|SFM. "What better place, I thought, to curate some of the artifacts from the making of the film?" he said.
The exhibit has been in the works for nearly a year, since "Avatar" arrived in theaters in late 2009. Cameron visited the museum and "walked the floor space" where the exhibit would be (the gallery currently titled "Homeworld" — the first room you enter in the museum), and staffers traveled south to visit Cameron's prop room and select artifacts with him.
Cameron said he's especially pleased that visitors can participate in much of the exhibit.
"I wanted to make it interactive," he said. "I wanted people to grab the virtual camera and look around within the virtual world of Pandora and get a taste of the experience, of what it's like making the film."