LAWRENCE WESCHLER: Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing

University of Alberta hosting Leonardo Art, Science, Evening Rendezvous (LASER)

23 October 2019

University of Alberta hosting Leonardo Art, Science, Evening Rendezvous (LASER)

LAWRENCE WESCHLER: Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing
Date: October 29, 2019
Time: 6-8 pm
Loc: Room 150, TELUS Centre, University of Alberta (11104 87 Ave)

Nowadays, artists and scientists tend to think of their ways of probing the world as distinctly different. But such was not always the case (in fact the divide is only a few centuries old; think of Leonardo, think of the wonder cabinets of the seventeenth century). Nor may the differences be all that distinct or even real. In a lecture originally developed for a conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation, long time New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler - director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU (where the sciences were emphatically included as part of and central to the humanities) and author, among others, of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder; Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences; and most recently, And How Are You, Doctor Sacks? a biographical memoir of the late neurologist Oliver Sacks --will extrapolate on such themes, with side-meanders into the thinking of artists Robert Irwin and David Hockney (subjects of two of his other books) and a whole new interpretation of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson.

Lawrence Weschler, a graduate of Cowell College at UC Santa Cruz (1974), was for twenty years a staff writer at The New Yorker (1981-2001), where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies, and then for thirteen years (2001-2014) the director, now emeritus, of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, where he insisted on counting the sciences as one of the crowning jewels of "the humanities." He has been a regular contributor, among others, to the New York Times magazine, Vanity Fair, Harper's, McSweeney's, The Believer--and is the author of coming on twenty books, including Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (a life of artist Robert Irwin); Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder (on the Museum of Jurassic Technology); Vermeer in Bosnia; Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences; Waves Passing in the Night (on Walter Murch in the land of the astrophysicists), and now, And How Are You, Doctor Sacks? (a biographical memoir of his thirty-five-year friendship with the neurologist Oliver Sacks). For more, visit

This event also celebrates the launch of the Mediating Science and Technology Signature Area.
LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) Talks is Leonardo's international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations. LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are in over 25 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. (
The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

About Leonardo/ISAST
Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) is a nonprofit organization that serves the global network of distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers through our programs focused on interdisciplinary work, creative output and innovation. From its beginnings, Leonardo/ISAST has served as THE virtual community for purposes of networking, resource-sharing, best practices, research and events in Art/Science/Technology.