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A Typology of Convergences: Towards a Unified Field Theory of Cultural Transmission

Across the past decade, in the National Book Critics Circle Award winning Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences, and in the ongoing contest that book spawned on the McSweeneys.net website, Lawrence Weschler has been exploring the way images (but also poems, musical themes, etc.) set a context for the reception of subsequent instances. We see by way of what we have already seen. We create by way of our entire prior sensorium. In this profusely illustrated talk, Weschler will consider a spectrum of such convergent effects, from apophenia (the tendency of humans to see patterns where none exist) through co-causation, fractalization, influence (forward and backward, direct and unconscious), homage, apprenticeship, allusion, quotation, appropriation, cryptomnesia (verbatim appropriation without realizing you’re doing so), through outright plagiarism… Fun for everyone!
LAWRENCE WESCHLER (Cowell College, UC Santa Cruz, 1974) was for over twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He recently graduated to director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, where he was director from 2001-2013. He is also the artistic director emeritus, still actively engaged, with the Chicago Humanities Festival, and sometime curator for the New York Live Ideas Festival. 
His “Passions and Wonders” series currently comprises Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin (1982); David Hockney’s Cameraworks (1984); Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (1995); A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces (1998); Boggs: A Comedy of Values (1999); Vermeer in Bosnia (2004); and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (2006).   Mr. Wilson was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Everything that Rises received the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. He is a contributing editor to McSweeney’s, the Threepeeny Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review and has recently been contributing regularly to Vanity Fair, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and The Believer.
Sponsored by the Millicent Greenwell Clapp Fund for Studio Art.

Details

When:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016. 05:30 PM

Where:

Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building, 355 Roth Way

Sponsor:

Department of Art & Art History

Contact:

650-723-3404
mlnoe@stanford.edu

Admission:

Free and open to the public.