“I’ve never seen a human being look at paintings longer than Siri,” Auster told the Strand Books audience proudly. He recalled a time at the Prado museum when Hustvedt examined Francisco de Goya’s painting The Third of May for hours. She stared at it for so long, in fact, that she even managed to make art history. “I saw this foggy but present image of a—probably Goya’s face—in the canvas itself,” Hustvedt explained to the audience. “I wrote about it, and it turned out that this had never been seen before…. What’s most important isn’t that I found this face. It’s that most people—and so many people working in art, this is all they do—don’t actually look all that deeply at the paintings.”
With the recent charging of George Zimmerman for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin plastered across national headlines, personal responsibility and justice are top-of-mind.
It may be just these issues that drew several hundred New Yorkers through the Italianate brownstone arches of The Cooper Union Wednesday evening for a lecture by Dr. Michael Gazzaniga: Who’s In Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain.
The crowd was gathered at Columbia University for “Does the Brain's Wiring Make Us Who We Are?” featuring two leading lights in the field. The debate, the second annual event hosted by the science-writing collective NeuWrite, had sold out weeks ahead of time.