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A tech world guide to the Brooklyn Public Library’s ‘Night of Philosophy and Ideas’

An all-nighter of CULTURE explores everything from human–robot relations to 3rd-century life hackers. Count us in.

Story Bellows is leaving to join the Brooklyn Public Library, pictured here. (Photo by Flickr user gigi_nyc, used under a Creative Commons license)

Who’s ready to pull an all-nighter to listen and think about stuff? 🙋

The Brooklyn Public Library and the French Embassy are putting on a 12-hour program starting on Saturday, Jan. 27 of music and talks on theory and popular culture, including technology, called “A Night of Philosophy and Ideas.”

We’ll be going, so if you want to meet up, drop us a line.


Here are our picks for the tech lovers among us:

8 p.m.

Virtual Reality: PLANET ∞ @ Trustees Room

  • PLANET ∞ is a seven-minute VR film by the artist and filmmaker Momoko Seto. “In a world in ruins, only fungi and mold grow in the middle of gigantic dried insects bodies,” goes a description of the film. “When a weather change occurs, rain irrigates the arid planet and floods it gradually. In the water springs an ecosystem, populated by giant carnivorous tadpoles.”

8:30 p.m.

Working Together @ Languages & Literature Division

  • Liam Kofi Bright, who will deliver this lecture, is a fifth year Ph.D. at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. His research has been about how people work together (or don’t), including “how the incentive structure created by the system of allocating credit in science may induce scientists to commit fraud, and how systematically different expectations of communal scrutiny of one’s work may lead women scientists to publish less than men scientists.”

9 p.m.

Sonic Fences in Public Spaces @ Dweck Auditorium

  • Juliette Volcler is the author of Extremely Loud: Sound as a Weapon, published in 2013, which investigates the ways in which those in power have a new weapon with sound waves. “In the historic center of Brussels, nausea-inducing sound waves are unleashed to prevent teenagers from lingering after hours. High-decibel, ‘nonlethal’ sonic weapons have become the tools of choice for crowd control at major political demonstrations from Gaza to Wall Street and as a form of torture at Guantánamo and elsewhere,” the book’s description reads.

10 p.m.

Are We Done With Psychoanalysis @ Society Sciences and Technology Division

  • Isabelle Alfandary is a professor at the Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle, where she teaches American literature, poetry, American philosophy and critical theory. Her work has focused on Jacques Derrida and Lacan as well as the poets e e cummings and Elizabeth Bishop (two authors who maybe could’ve used a bit more psychotherapy).

10:30 p.m.

Destiny vs. Free Will @ Society, Sciences and Technology Division

  • Many right-thinking technologists might have their mind made up on the topic of destiny, but magician Kent Axell could turn some heads when it comes to how we process the world. On his site, Axell has a good quote “Holy **** Kent, how did you do that?!” from director Werner Herzog.

11 p.m.

We’re All Entrepreneurs Now: Risk in the Neoliberal Age @ Art and Music

  • Raphaële Chappe teaches at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, where her work draws from “insights in economics and the social sciences as well as legal theory to analyze modern capitalism and financial markets. She has practiced as an attorney for eight years in the financial services industry and also teaches at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.”

11:30 p.m.

Should We Remember the Right to Forget @ Languages and Literature Division

  • The right to be forgotten is a very literal issue in Europe, where legislation was passed mandating that people be able to request links about them be removed from Google. Jean-Louis Fabiani is Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest.

12:30 a.m.

Meet the original life hackers, the Stoics @ History, Biography, Religion Division

  • Massimo Pigliucci is a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York where his research interests include “the philosophy of biology, the relationship between science and philosophy, the nature of pseudoscience, and the practical philosophy of Stoicism.”

1:30 a.m.

Nietzsche and Buddhism @ Languages and Literature Division

3:30 a.m.

Techno-Science and the Human Condition @ Languages and Literature Division

  • Raphaël Liogier teaches at the Institut d’études politiques d’Aix-en-Provence, where his research focuses on “belief systems, values, the theory of knowledge, religions, Buddhism, new religious movements (NRMs), cults, and cultural globalization.”

4 a.m.

Can a Human Have a Meaningful Relationship with a Humanoid Robot? @ Society, Sciences and Technology Division

  • Aleksandra Przegalińska is a research fellow at the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT.

Alexa, mon cher, set an alarm for 4 a.m. so I don’t miss this one.

Companies: Brooklyn Public Library
Series: Brooklyn

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