New York Thought: Smart Things to Do in NYC This Week

Summer of Know, Summer Shorts, and the mystery of walking cave fish highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, August 14


Biologist, comparative physiologist, and biomechanics expert Brooke Flammang of NJIT’s Fluid Locomotion Lab comes to the Secret Science Club. She’ll lay out some aquatic mysteries, like the vagaries of fish shapes, how sea creatures sense the ocean, and the mystery of walking cave fish. The Bell House.

Vision is not what it appears to be. Our brains don’t simply soak in what light reveals but instead, as an expert in the neuroscience of vision will explain, the mind actively adapts sight to task. Learn more at a free Know Science night at the Queens Library Langston Hughes in Corona.

Blink along with the 35,000 original drawings that make up NYsferatu: Symphony of a Century, a new film projected along with live musical improvisations. Hudson River Park. (There’s also a screening Thursday at the Queens Museum.)

Tuesday, August 15

Artists and Machine Intelligence/Kaoru Okumura: Butoh x DeepDream

The Summer of Know at the Guggenheim Museum continues as artist Ian Cheng gets together with Kenric McDowell, Artists and Machine Intelligence at Google, for a talk on Artificial Intelligence, Simulation, and Esoteric Knowledge and Practices in Art. Troy Conrad Therrien, Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives at the Guggenheim, will moderate.

Lend an ear to the memoir of a Colombian painter and intellectual (The Book of Emma Reyes) during an evening with writer Daniel Alarcon. Book Culture on Columbus.

Wednesday, August 16

In connection with the Swiss In situ exhibition Ugo Rondinone: I ♡ John Giorno, LA-based artist Jill Mulleady leads a talk and screening. Among the subjects is Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Sleep, which features 5 hours and 21 minutes of John Giorno mid-slumber. (Sleep rates just a 3.7 on IMDb, if that impacts your streaming plans.)

Historian H. W. Brands talks about a battle of wills over the direction of America as delineated in his book on General MacArthur and Harry Truman. Bryant Park/Bryant Park Reading Room.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is gathering some of the city’s premier film experts to curate rarely seen 16mm shorts from the library’s collection. This week Brian Belovarac, from The Criterion Collection/Janus Films, will highlight the complications of being young in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The series continues through August Wednesdays (and if you missed it last week, your library card is now good for streaming 30,000 works on films courtesy of the NYPL.)

Thursday, August 17

Director and Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture in New York Jorge Otero-Pailos speaks about transitions, and “the intersection of art, architecture and preservation.” It’s part of a Open House New York series of conversations on cities, taking place at LMHQ.

The power of radical politics in shaping the world is explored in an evening talk arranged around Thomas Paine. The birth of American political philosophy and Paine’s status as a premier philosopher will be examined. The setting will be resonant as well: Park Slope’s Old Stone House, which played a significant role in the American Revolution.

Find our picks for the weekend here.

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