The schedule for the New York edition of Night of Ideas is still evolving.
Check back here for times and locations of programming involving Patti Smith, Leïla Slimani, Yann Le Cun, and others.
Journey from Villa Albertine headquarters in Manhattan to Brooklyn Public Library inside a high-voltage-brainpower bus where you’ll warm up your neurons during private 1:1 discussions with the presenting artist or speaker sitting next to you.
In this lecture, investigative climate journalist Geoff Dembicki will take the audience through more than six decades of ignored warnings on climate change, beginning with a 1959 presentation to the oil industry about global warming’s dangers by Edward Teller, inventor of the atomic bomb.
What has become of that revolutionary imaginary so deeply implicated in the run-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989? After all, it had promised comprehensive systemic change without bloodshed, thus becoming a site of tangible hope wherever unfreedom, political violence, and social injustice still reigned. What went wrong? Why is a storm blowing from paradise, and what are the causes of democracy’s self-elected U-turns? And what about the punitive war declared by one empire against the albeit imperfect democracy in Ukraine?
Do we have at our disposal any illuminating verbs, nouns, or images that might light a path for us to take?
Boris Charmatz | César Vayssié
Duration: 14 min 22
Dancer, choreographer, and creator of experimental projects, Boris Charmatz subjects dance to formal constraints which redraw the field of possibilities. In January 2019, he created [terrain], an association established in the Region Hauts-de-France. In September 2022, Charmatz will be the new director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. César Vayssié produces films and performances. At the intersection of visual arts and dance, his work sidesteps all classification. In 2000, he produced the film LES DISPARATES and has since then regularly collaborated with Boris Charmatz. An unclassifiable film, Levée is something between an abstract bird’s eye view, a documentary, and a genre film from the performance Levée des conflits. Shot in the Ruhr region, on the “Halde Haniel” mining site — an immense plateau shaped like a spiral — Charmatz and Vayssié’s film propels the dance, into an indeterminate zone, somewhere between science-fiction and anthropology. Duration: 14 min 22 sec
Yasuke Kurosan (2020)
Compagnie Vivons • Smaïl Kanoute
Duration: 15 min
Smaïl Kanouté is a French-Malian graphic designer, dancer, silkscreen artist, and graduate of ENSAD. With the Compagnie Vivons he created, he has developed several performances such as Les Actes du Désert. In visual arts, he has frequently partnered with the street and visual artist Philippe Baudelocque and with Tino Sehgal’s exhibition’s ‘These Associations’ at the Palais de Tokyo in 2016. In 2021, he exhibited Yasuke Kurosan at the studio of Maison Europenne de la Photographie of Paris. This artwork depicts Smaïl Kanouté’s journey as he follows in the footsteps of Yasuke Kurosan, an African slave who arrived in Japan at the end of the 16th century and was granted the status of samurai. Kanouté’s choreographic writing conveys the transformation of the bent body of the slave into the proud and upright body of the samurai, through the encounter between African dance and the art of Bushido (code of honor of the Samurai). This 15-minute film, directed by Abdou Diouri, is the starting point for a choreographic work on stage for 2022. More info
Gerard & Kelly
Duration: 24 minutes
American artists living in Paris, Gerard & Kelly create performances, installations, and films at the frontier between dance and contemporary art. Their current film, shot in the Bourse de Commerce, a Parisian building originally constructed for trade and business, continues the duo’s engagement with architecture, dance and questions of history. Three performers inhabit the temple-like cylinder, designed by contemporary architect Tadao Ando, as if the site were a refuge from commerce, especially the violent history of imperial capitalism depicted in the panoramic fresco that bands around the glass dome.
Duration: 27 min
Original language: Portuguese • Subtitled: English and French
In the African continent, Brazilian-born performer and choreographer Ana Pi reconnects with her origins through the choreographic gesture, engaging in a space-time experiment that combines traditional and contemporary movements. In this dance of fertility and healing, the black skin under the blue veil is integrated with space, reenacting new forms and colors that evoke ancestry, belonging, resistance and the sense of freedom.
A choreographic and imagery artist, researcher of Afro-diasporic and urban dances, extemporary dancer and pedagogue, Ana Pi’s practices are woven through the act of travelling. Her work is situated among the notions of transit, displacement, belonging, superposition, memory, colors and ordinary gestures. In 2020 she created the structure NA MATA LAB.
Ola Rondiak is an American expat, living in Ukraine for 25 years, after being raised in the Ukrainian diaspora by immigrant parents. She believes that where she is going is a function of her identity and what she has experienced in her life. Ola discovered that there was a cultural seed planted in her youth that laid the groundwork for the purpose of her journey. Rondiak will be sharing these experiences and how they have brought meaning and purpose to her life. Her personal story illustrates the importance of the role of art in preserving culture and creating a source of sustenance, inspiration, and healing for future generations.
The pandemic has dramatically revived the debate about “civic obligations” in democratic societies. What are our duties towards our fellow citizens and the state? On what grounds can we accept limitations to our liberty? Once the pandemic is over, these questions will remain, as they force us to rethink citizenship and the balance between individual rights and collective duties, in times of climate change, wars, and democratic fragility.
Can we think of our time not only as an Anthropocene but as a Secularocene? What does it change in the ways in which we understand the past and our troubled present? Meziane will first present the project of writing an eco-racial of colonial modernity through the lenses of two concepts: empire and secularization and analyze the unprecedented present we live in on the basis of this historical inquiry. What are the potential implications in a world where the future seems not only uncertain but – perhaps? – lost to the extent that it resists any kind of human mastery. Meziane will analyzed different features of our time: the global rise of the far-right, the intensification of religious violence and racism, as well as the increasing militarization of power in a context where nuclear wars and climate catastrophes seem to be possible scenarios of a not too distant future.
Writers are not prophets and I do not know where we are heading. But writers, as creators of works of fiction, know how to play with contingencies and envisage all possible scenarios. Today, one must learn to live with uncertainties…
When the urgency of multiple ongoing eco-catastrophes is constantly demanding that we simultaneously act fast and slow down to think, movies like Don’t Look Up! or Melancholia offer their response in allegorical form. These both stage the apocalyptic collision of the Earth with destructive outer-space objects – an asteroid and a whole planet, respectively. But such cinematic allegories do not only pose questions of end-times. They also invite a reflection regarding the actual multiplicity of human stressors on Earth’s systems, in excess of the movies’ syntheses. Allegory highlights in absentia, that which it cannot represent directly: that our eco-catastrophes demand responses commensurate to their complication. Perhaps decentralized, per chance radical democratic. This is a call for (re)thinking our times as necessitating revolution, understood as lived temporality rather than abstract utopian promise.
Our conditions of life and habitability on Earth are threatened. Against both denial and the false promise of a technological solution, we can address this existential challenge by reconnecting to the world around us, to fauna and flora, to water, to physical things… and by learning from this reconnection how to prosper happily on our unique planet.
Can universalism be fixed or is it beyond repair? How can we move away from its Eurocentric framework and reinvent it for the 21st century? In this presentation, we will first debunk the pseudo-universalist mythology by showing that it served as a WMC (Weapon of Mass Colonization). Using the metaphor of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of giving a new life to broken ceramic objects, we will then envision an updated universalism, both postcolonial and antiracist – a new form of polity where it would be possible to reconcile the concepts of republic and democracy.
Romanian-born French thinker Emil Cioran (1911-1995) was obsessed with the topic of failure: from his first book, which he wrote in Romanian when he was 22, to his latest French texts, failure (be it cosmic, collective or personal) always played a central role in his thinking. There is then Cioran’s record of personal failures: his involvement with a fascist movement in interwar Romania, his failure to keep a full-time job (and his bragging about it), his dream to live a parasite’s life in Paris (and the fulfillment of it), and much more.
Today, AI is at the center of the debate around content moderation on online communication platforms. Without automated content filtering systems functioning in hundreds of languages social networks would become cesspools of hate speech, disinformation, propaganda, and attempts to subvert the democratic process. In the future, as digital societies overwhelm us with exponentially increasing amounts of information, an increased reliance on AI to mediate our information diet is inevitable. As we move from smartphones to augmented-reality glasses, how could everyone possess a personalized AI assistant, confident, and friend that is under our control, and that helps us in our daily lives?
Inequalities were already an acute problem before Covid and Climate Change started impacting the most vulnerable populations, by the damage they cause but also through the socially challenging policies that try to curb virus variants or carbon emissions.
For a government to act in an emergency situation can hardly yield efficiency and fairness. More thoughts must be given to imagining anti-crisis mechanisms that better protect individual welfare and dignity, and complement post-war, sometimes antiquated, social systems. A concrete way to shield people from significant large scale or personal risks, while giving them maximum freedom and opportunity, is to replace most existing social benefits by a universal revenue.
“It’s better to step into shit than into politics,” was a popular saying among the Soviet hippies – a rich underground movement that lasted through decades since the heydays of the Western hippies. The Soviet hippies were politicized soon after their emergence, followed by harsh persecutions, which led to growing escapism among the hippies and the desire to create an alternative world altogether. Toomistu will gives an overview of the Soviet hippie movement through the lens of its protest culture, raising important questions on the link between repression, responsibility, protest, and escapism, leading into a discussion with the audience on how these ideas resonate with today’s struggle to combat the pandemic against the backdrop of the quests for freedom.
No matter where we are going,
we are going to have to fight.
But we’re also going to have to resist.
Resist climate chaos,
resist racism and capitalism.
Everywhere and every single time we must.
The good news being
that resistance is not new.
Peoples have been resisting
and are still resisting.
we can learn from the perpetuity of resistances that have come before
and coincide with our own,
in order to keep resistance going,
to reinvent and reimagine it,
and face the protean forms of fascism and counterinsurgency that have emerged in the last two decades.
In order to instigate such a reflection, this semi-poetic presentation will delve into three forms of resistance (sousveillance, laughter, and artistic creation) that communities have adopted to face specific forms of oppression.
As a queer person, Joanne Spataro found the beauty and necessity of creating her own family. When she was a new mom, her blood relatives were hundreds of miles away physically and emotionally. That’s when she embraced the concept of family by choice. In her talk, Spataro details how having her own biological child with her wife freed her to manifest her own extended family. She’ll demonstrate why family-by-choice for LGBTQ people has increasingly modern functions, including combatting the loneliness that often accompanies parenting.