Rivka Galchen + David Linden Memory and Identity
Mnemonic Art Tour in the galleries
Karma Chain on the spiral staircase
Program in the theater
Book signing in the cafe
In Rivka Galchen's debut novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, a psychiatrist discovers that his wife, Rema, has been replaced with an almost perfect double. The psychiatrist sets out on a quest that leads him from the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, hunting for the authentic wife that he has reason to believe has fallen into the clutches of a world-wide, perhaps even multiverse-spanning, weather manipulation syndicate. Published in 2008, Atmospheric Disturbances has been translated into over 20 languages, and was awarded the William J. Saroyan International Prize for Fiction. In 2010 Galchen was chosen by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 American writers under the age of 40. Her short story "The Entire Northern Side Was Covered with Fire" was published in the "Summer Fiction" issue of the magazine (June 14 & 21, 2010). She teaches writing at Columbia University.
David J. Linden makes a welcome return to Brainwave after his appearance last year with chocolatier Jacques Torres to mark the publication of his book The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good. He is professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and also author of The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God. The book The Accidental Mind is an attempt to explain the human brain to intelligent lay readers, and recently received a silver medal in the category of Science from the Independent Publisher Association. Dr. Linden has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurophysiology since 2008.
Photo by Michael J. Palma.
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.