Cabinet of Wonder event at NYIH featuring Lauren Redniss!


The New York Institute for the Humanities and the Humanities Initiative at NYU
Present An All-Day

Wonder Cabinet

curated by Lawrence Weschler

with Jonathan Lethem, Tara Donovan, Robert Krulwich, Bill Morrison, Richard McGuire, Bob Sabiston, Lauren Redniss (Parsons Illustration Faculty), Wholphin, and others.

Saturday February 21, Noon till 9pm
Cantor Film Center at NYU, 36 East 8th Street
Free and open to the public, on a first-come, first-in basis

On Saturday, February 21, the NYIH will delve back into the roots of the modern Humanities in the sixteenth century’s Age of Marvels, when the sorts of disciplines that would eventually separate out into distinct Arts and the Sciences, as currently understood, still comingled promiscuously and sometimes well-nigh deliriously.  For, as the curator of the day-long event, Lawrence Weschler (director of the Institute and the author, among others, of the Pulitzer-nominated Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders and the NBCC-Award-winning Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences) suggests, what with the expansion of the Web, the Net, and other such proliferating technologies, our current era is witnessing a similarly happy debauch of interpenetrating categories, a time when scientists and artists, fictionaros and filmmakers and historians and digital innovators all have a whole lot to say to each other.

Keep reading for a complete schedule of events!



{Noon to 3:00 pm}

NPR and ABC’s Robert Krulwich and marine biologist Roger Hanlon (of the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, MA) blowing the whistle on octopus camouflage

1:00 pm
Celebrated avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) and the legendary cartoonist and graphic artist Richard McGuire (of the New Yorker, among other venues), offering gorgeous new filmwork.

2:30 pm
Novelist Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude) reading a new story

{3:00 pm – break}


{3:30 pm to 6:30 pm}
3:30 pm
Work in progress from MacArthur award winning artist Tara Donovan (ink on paper) and graphic master Lauren Redniss (Marie Curie in Love! and Century Girl)

4:30 pm
Cultural historian Norman Brosterman on the invention of kindergarten in the 19th century and the unlikely origins of the vanguard passions of such modernist geniuses as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Cobusier, Mondrian and Klee

5:30 pm
Artist Matt Shlian and materials scientist Max Shtein of the University of Michigan, folding paper within an inch of its life, with implications ranging from protein folding to renewable energy

{6:30 pm –  break}


{7:15 pm to 9:00 pm}
7:15 pm
John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries, fresh from presenting technological marvels at Sundance, breaking the digital fourth wall

7:45 pm

Brent Hoff offering a short-film miscellany from Wholphin, the DVD quarterly out of McSweeneysland, featuring everything from sunspots in delirium to bubblewrap in extremis, and rotoscope magus Bob Sabiston (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly) accompanying an autistic lad on a pilgrimage to roller coaster heaven as part of his latest effort, The Even More Fun Trip.

The NYU Humanities Initiative sponsors research, collaborative teaching, conferences, working groups, and outreach by way of fostering a university-wide community in the humanities at NYU. Launched in 2007, its mission replaces and significantly expands that of the former Humanities Council. For further information on the Humanities Initiative, please visit or call 212.998.2190.