Laurie Anderson + Dean Buonomano
Mnemonic Art Tour in the galleries
Karma Chain on the spiral staircase
Program in the theater
This program is now sold out.
"One type of memory error that we make — a memory bug — is really a product of the fact that in human memory, there's no distinction between storage and retrieval. So when a computer writes something down, it has one laser that's used to store the memory and another laser to retrieve the memory, and those are very distinct processes. In human memory, the distinction between storage and retrieval is not very clear, and this can have very dramatic consequences. ... The act of retrieving a memory can affect the storage." – Dean Buonomano
From O Superman in 1980 to Homeland released in 2010, Laurie Anderson is acknowledged as one of today's premier performance artists. Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. Major works include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick, a multimedia stage performance based on the novel by Herman Melville. Laurie Anderson's visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe, including The Missing Peace here at the Rubin Museum of Art. This marks her sixth appearance at the Rubin Museum of Art.
Dean Buonomano is a professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology, and a member of the Brain Research Institute, and the Integrative Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA. His research focuses on the neural basis of learning and memory, neural computation, and how the brain tells time. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has been interviewed about his research on timing and neural computation for Newsweek, Discover Magazine, Scientific American, Los Angeles Times, New Scientist, and The New Yorker.
Mnemonic Art Tour
Take advantage of a short tour of some paintings in the collection that function as mnemonic devices. The iconography in these paintings serve to reference specific passages in the sutras. That is why most of these works were not meant to be revealed to those who were not already initiates. The tour will include two types of paintings: narratives such as the life of the Buddha, and mandalas which are complex two-dimensional diagrams of one’s multi-dimensional state of mind.
As a prelude to the staged program, we are planning to stage a simple game of ‘telephone’ prior to the session to demonstrate the fallibility of oral transmission and the nature of short-term memory. Each ticket holder will stand on one of the steps of the 108-stepped spiral staircase of the Museum. The guest speaker stands at the base, whispers a short phrase they have prepared to the visitor on the first step, and the phrase would spiral up through the line until it reaches the ear of the scientist. The conversationalists will only reveal the original phrase and the result phrase when on stage in the theater, thus starting the conversation about memory.