Category Archives: Randomly Intriguing

Special Halloween Wonder Cabinet at NYIH!


The New York Institute for the Humanities & the Humanities Initiative at NYU present an all-day

curated by Lawrence Weschler

A day of illustrated talks, screenings, and multimedia presentations with Laurie Anderson, Michael Benson, Chandler Burr, Walter Murch,David Wilson and many others.

Saturday October 31
11 am till 9:30 pm
NYU’s Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th Street, NYC

Free and Open to the Public (on a first-come, first-in basis)
Every once in a while, Lawrence Weschler, the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities, and author, among others, of the Pulitzer-nominatedMr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (a work of “magic-realist nonfiction” arising out of an investigation of the premodern roots of the postmodern Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles), gets it into his head to contrive a day of sublimely odd, wonderflecked and just plain cool presentations, braided one after the next in a thematic order intermittently evident to himself, if no one else. This year, he proposes to do so on Saturday October 31, which is to say Halloween.

As you will see from the program below, the first half of the day will focus generally on the stellar, the planetary, the cosmological and the astronomic. Later in the day, presentations will begin to morph into a consideration of the experience itself of drop-jawed amazement. Toward the end of the procession, attention will turn to things somewhat more infinitesimal: the molecular basis of smell, insect camouflage, and (to round out the day, Halloween after all) the downright hallucinogenic.


11:00 am

A celebratory fanfare by avant garde, downtown (and well nigh breathless) saxophone player COLIN STETSON

11:10 am

LAURIE ANDERSON, the celebrated performance artist and hipster sage, who will dilate on her days, a few seasons back, as visiting artist-in-residence with the good folks at NASA. (Note: She will be replacing the previously announced bead-artist Liza Lou in this slot.)

11:45 am

Filmmaker and photographic archivist MICHAEL BENSON will be evoking the entire universe as seen from the point of view of the Hubble and other deep space observatories, subject of his latest book, Far Out,which in turn follows on from his last, the critically celebrated,Beyond, which took the same sort of survey of the photographic legacy of interplanetary space probes.


1:45 pm

The eminent film and sound editor WALTER MURCH (Apocalypse Now, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The English Patient, The Conversations, etc.) will reveal a whole other side of his famously overbrimming curiosity, which is to say his excavation and systematic rehabilitation of a long discredited theory as to the placement of planets and moons in relation to the bodies around which they orbit, a formula which turns out to accurately predict 85% of such orbits, and which, when properly rejiggered, turns out to coincide with the formula for the Pythagorean octave (talk about the music of the spheres!).

3:00 pm

DAVID WILSON, the MacArthur winning Jurassic Technologist himself, will evoke the Russian mystical origins of the Soviet space program, subject of a trilogy of heartrendingly lovely short films, a full decade in the making, currently coming to closure at the fourteen-seat Borzoi Theater atop his LA museum.

4:00 pm

A rarely screened short, filmed during the last months of the Khrushchevite Thaw, in which the Soviet master PAVEL KOGAN trains a hidden camera on a succession of common Russians at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, as they gaze, positively awestruck, at Leonardo’s rendition of a Virgin and Child. That film will in turn be coupled with an uncanny set of recent shorts in whichJOSH MELNICKtrains a highspeed high-definition excruciatingly slow-motion digital camera upon wayfarers on the New York city subway, staring, positively dumbstruck, at nothing in particular.

5:00 pm

A similar pairing, as in the above, this time two vantages of life on earth; the first in which the renowned avant garde filmmaker PETER HUTTON, of Bard College, trains his attention on the play of light dappling an Icelandic fjord; and the second in which MATT COOLIDGE, of LA’s Center for Land Use Interpretation (sister institution to David Wilson’s Museum of Jurassic Technology) trains his camera out the side of a helicopter for a jaw-dropping twenty-minute single-take survey of Houston’s petrochemical channel, arguably the most ecstatically industrialized swath of real estate in the world.


6:30 pm

New York Timesscent critic CHANDLER BURR (The Emperor of Scentand The Perfect Scent: A Year inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York), singing the Nose Fantastic, which is to say plumbing the still mind-boggling mysteries involved in how it is that we smell anything at all (complete with blotter-swatch demonstrations).

7:30 pm

Entomologist Extraordinaire MAY BERENBAUM of the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana (Ninety Nine Gnats,Nits and Nibblers;Bugs in the System; and The Earwig’s Tale: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-Legged Legends), who in honor of the evening’s festivities will consider Insects that Ape Shit (which is to say exceptionally novel, if creepy, insect disguises).

8:30 pm

HAMILTON MORRIS, the disconcertingly enterprising young pharmacopia correspondent of Vice Magazine, will round out the evening by reporting on all manner of oddities (penis mushrooms, Amazonian frog sweat, etc.) that he has ingested and that you might want to avoid.

Times above are approximate at best.


{We hope as many of you as possible will be able to spend the day with us, feasting on the Wonder Cabinet in its entirety. However, should you be unable to stay for the whole program, we strongly recommend that you come for each session in full—you’ll understand why when you do!}

Nearest Subway Lines to Cantor Film Center, located at 36 East 8th Street (btw University Pl. & Greene St.), with caveat to check MTA’s weekend service advisories prior to heading over:

A, C, E, B, D, F, V to West 4th Street (6th Ave.)
R, W to 8th St.–NYU (Broadway)
6 to Astor Place

For further information, visit or contact the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU at

The Humanities Initiative at NYU sponsors research, collaborative teaching, conferences, working groups, and outreach by way of fostering a university-wide community in the humanities. 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.

The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU was established in 1976 for promoting the exchange of ideas between academics, professionals, politicians, diplomats, writers, journalists, musicians, painters, and other artists in New York City–and between all of them and the city. It currently comprises 220 fellows. Throughout the year, the NYIH organizes numerous public events and symposia.

Passing it Along: New Sendables at JibJab


Check out the rad new Halloween-ish Sendables over at JibJab (started by Parsons Illustration alum Evan N. Spiridellis and his brother!):

Do the Monster Mash!

You and your friends will make a hell of a Monster Mash when you turn yourselves into creatures of the night using JibJab’s easy and terrifying new transformation technology! Before you’ll know it, you’ll have created a monster!

Night of the Living Dead’ish

Put yourself and a friend into the most classic zombie movie ever made! Braiiins!

Plus new pictures, videos and a whole lot more!

Quick Hit: Electric Car video by Ru Kuwahata and Tiny Inventions

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Check out this rad video for They Might Be Giants by Tiny Inventions featuring the work of Parsons Illustration Alum Ru Kuwahata! Whew–that was an amazing long string of happy information!  Congrats to Ru (and Max) on the tremendous video.

Bonus: Ru will be lecturing and presenting her work in Veronica Lawlor’s Illustration in Motion class, on Monday, November 2, 2009, 9:30 am. Location: 2 West 13th St. building, room 1104.  All are welcome to attend.

And hey, are you a Parsons Illustration Alumni?  Keep us updated!  We want to feature your work and books and projects right here on this very blog!  Email, send us a Facebook message, or catch up with us on Twitter.  We’re here to sing your praises!

Urban Arts Fest this weekend!

urban arts fest

Come on out on October 3 for the first MBP Urban Arts Fest! The two-part, one-day festival will go from 1PM-2AM. The whole day is about the thriving urban art community MBP has advocated since its inception. With skateboard demos and contests, live painting, music and DJs, photography and art installations and plenty of art and books for sale, there will be something for everyone!

MBP will be taking over and transforming the entire lower-half of Castle Braid (114 Troutman Street, Myrtle Ave/Bwy JMZ Train) in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The day’s first part runs from 1PM-9PM and is open to all ages; 8PM-2AM is 21 and over, featuring free beer and a dance party.

Their non-profit beneficiary is Art for Progress, an organization dedicated to supporting rising multi-discipline arts in New York City.

What to expect:

• Gallery-style art installations
• Live graffiti exhibitions & public graffiti wall
• Live entertainment, DJs, dance & musical performances
• Skate park & sponsored game of S.K.A.T.E hosted by Substance Skateboards
• First 500 guests receive a FREE copy of Talk Balk: The Bubble Project by Ji Lee
• Special Guest Signings
• Free corresponding entry to the Brooklyn Artillery Art Fair at the location, hosted by the Williamsburg Gallery Association
• All Ages Arts & Crafts: postal sticker tagging how-to; design your own “Umberto” character from Dutch artisit/illustrator Tijn Snoodijk; make-your-own recycled material tote bags with Bags for the People, design your own canvas laptop case from AIAIAI and more!
• Local & International Artist Showcases & Tables
• Unveiling of exclusive OBEY x PEEL poster by Shephard Fairey for Peel Magazine (authors of MBP’s PEEL: The Art of the Sticker)
• Shopping (MBP bookstore & Local Artists’ offerings)
• Food & Drinks (Brooklyn Brewery, Hoegaarden, Food Trucks)
• Gift Bags & Prizes – with bags from Bags for the People, goodies from MimobotsCafe Bustelo,Zoo YorkAIAIAI and more!

• Martha Cooper, Going Postal
• Remo Camerota, Graffiti Japan
• Ji Lee, Talk Back: The Bubble Project
• Luz A. Martín, Textura: Valencia Street Art
• Artists from ORBIT Gallery (featured in upcoming EdgyCute book: Joe Scarano, Angie Mason, Michael Caines, Chris Uminga, Motomich Nakamura, BECCA, Emma Overman, Robbie Busch; and Frank Sheehan)
• Special Guest Curator Mighty Tanaka (with art from: avone, JMR, Hellbent, Alexandra Pacula, Peter Halasz, Mike Schreiber, AVOID PI, FARO, Royce Bannon, BLOKE, Mari Keeler, John Breiner, Skewville)
• Tijn Snoodijk of Shop Around – Netherlands
• RobotsWillKill (featured in Going PostalPEEL: The Art of the Sticker)
• Project Super Friends
• Royce Bannon (featured in Going Postal)
• Chris Stain (featured in Going Postal)
• Destroy & Rebuild
• Cosbe (featured in Going Postal)
• CR
• Abe Lincoln Jr.
• IndigoMania
• El Celso
• Chalk drawings by Ellis Gallagher

Hosted by: iLLspokinN
DJ Statik Selektah
Krts (Powerstrip Circus)
Hot 97’s DJ Juanyto
Guest DJ Jason Mizell (son of Jam Master Jay)
Michael Brian
Ad Lawless
Greenberet Team
Spokinn Movement
William B. Johnson’s Drumadics

SHOWCASES/VENDORS (list in progress)
Sabrina Beram
Owen Jones & Billy Hahn
Peter Moschel Johnson
JemmanimalsJohn Bent
Natasha Quam/L’Ange Atelier
Dawn of Man Productions
Katie Jean Hopkins
Stephanie Paz
Alessandro Echevarria
Spost Love
iinex grafik
Andrea Grannum-Mosley
Gully Klassics
Clazzi & Qool Accessories

ADMISSION: $15 cash at the door, $10 in advance – come & go the whole day. Buy your tickets here!


Quick Hit: Bonnie Gloris’ Brain Topography


“The Immersion of the Senses,” by Parsons Illustration Alum Bonnie Gloris, appears in the May issue of Brain Topography,  A Journal of Cerebral Function and Dynamics. The oil painting, which depicts the five boroughs of New York City,  each representing a sensory organ, illustrates the journal’s preface. This special issue was widely distributed at the International Multisensory Research Forum’s 10th annual conference in New York this past June 29 – July 2, 2009.

Congrats, Bonnie!

Quick Hit: Classic Government Comics

govn't comix
Check out this fantastic archive of (free) Government Comic Books–the topics range from space travel to eyepatches to the story of inflation.  Some nice reading for a hot summer afternoon.  Thanks to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln library for creating this rad resource.  Here are a couple other highlights, but definitely check out the whole collection.  Enjoy!



Quimby The Mouse by Chris Ware, John Kuramoto, and Andrew Bird

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Check out this amazing animation put together by Chris Ware for “This American Life — Live!”   The song in this video is “Eugene” by Andrew Bird. Animation by John Kuramoto.  It’s been around for awhile, but it’s still worth a watch.

Quick Hit: Gretchen van Lente and puppets!


Illustration Alum Gretchen van Lente showed up in the NYTimes last month with a write-up about her work with puppets, Kafka, and the Here Arts Center. Here’s a a snippet:

Most of the fun here is in the puppet creations. The bug is a delightful critter concocted from baskets and other odds and ends. A life-size inquisitor (manipulated at times by two puppeteers) has enough body language that you hardly notice his lack of a head. Flexible-necked lamps also come alive, to startling effect.

The puppeteers are fully visible, and the director, Gretchen Van Lente, has a fine time playing with perspective. The humans look like giants. It’s disorienting, and maybe that’s the point.

Read the rest of the write-up here.

Cool work, Gretchen!