The Rubin Museum will explore illusion and human perception in this year's edition of the popular Brainwave series of on-stage conversations between mind scientists and thinkers from diverse walks of life. Opening today, February 6, the series will include 20 on-stage conversations, 50 film screenings, and an interactive experience in which the museum will become a Memory Palace. While illusion is usually associated with vision, the series will engage audiences through all five senses to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject.
Additionally, the effects of trauma as a result of combat and recent work in treating PTSD and ADHD will be addressed through two new documentary films, High Ground and Free the Mind that will be screened and discussed with scientists and veterans.
"The Buddha taught that everything is illusion, just as everything is ephemeral, and that it is our perspective that counts," said director of public programs Tim McHenry. "So the sixth edition of Brainwave will explore how our perceptions of the world are shaped by the mechanics of our brains, which is both limiting and freeing."
Highlights from the series include:
The Mystique of Parsifal (February 6, 7 pm) As the acclaimed theater and film director François Girard (The Red Violin) prepares his new production of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera, he and Columbia University neuroscientist Carl Schoonover (Portraits of the Mind) delve into human perception, from stagecraft to film, from music to the mystique of the young hero Parsifal.
The Fear Project (February 9, 3pm) Surfer Jaimal Yogis meets with psychiatrist Srini Pillay to ascertain what role fear plays in our survival and how it colors our perception of reality.
Three Cartoonists (March 3, 6 pm) Cartoonists encapsulate an idea with economy of form. Here New Yorker cartoonists David Sipress, ZacharyKanin, and Paul Noth explore the creative illusion of putting pen to paper and discover which comes first: the words or the image.
The Humorist (March 6, 7 pm) Humorist Fran Lebowitz discusses the illusion of language with experimental psychologist Steven Pinker.
The Memory Palace (March 17, 6 pm and March 20, 7 pm) Memory is another form of illusion but also a tool to navigate the construct of time. Test your ability to retain and recall information you learned in one hour with US Memory Champion Nelson Dellis and Cognitive Pyschologist Lila Davachi. Employing exotic fragrances to help anchor your memorization and magical illusions to test them, this will be unlike any other museum experience you have ever had.
The Virtuoso (April 3, 7 pm) Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain explores how rhythm is the most primal sense humans possess with neuroscientist Seth Horowitz.
The Brainwave schedule follows below. Additional programs will be confirmed throughout the coming weeks. For ticket information and updates on events, visit: www.rmanyc.org/brainwave.
The Director François Girard + Neuroscientist Carl Schoonover
Wednesday, February 6, 7 pm, $35
As acclaimed theater and film director François Girard (The Red Violin) prepares his new production of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera, he and Columbia University neuroscientist Carl Schoonover (Portraits of the Mind) delve into human perception, from stagecraft to film, from music and imagery, to the mystique of the young hero Parsifal.
"Illusions are when your brain cut corners and got caught." - Carl Schoonover
French-Canadian director François Girard's work has spanned theater, opera, television, and film, most notably in the groundbreaking Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould, the Academy Award-winning The Red Violin, and the Emmy Award-winning Yo-Yo Ma Inspired by Bach. His work on the stage has included Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Kafka's The Trial, Wagner's Siegfried, and Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana seen at Radio City Music Hall.
Carl Schoonover graduated from Harvard College in 2006 with a degree in philosophy and is currently a doctoral student in Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University Medical Center. He has written on neuroscience for the general public in such publications as Le Figaro, Commentaire, and LiveScience. In 2008 he cofounded NeuWrite, a collaborative working group for scientists, writers, and those in between. He hosts the radio show Wednesday Morning Classical on WCKR 89.9 FM, which focuses on opera, classical music, and their relationship to the brain. He is a former NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a 2012 TED Fellow.