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Towards a Typology of Convergences

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

Lecture at the School of Visual Arts, 

For 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 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 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, cryptonesia (verbatim appropriation without realizing you’re doing so), through outright plagiarism… Fun for everyone.

Lawrence Weschler is director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, where he has been a fellow since 1991. A staff writer at The New Yorker for more than 20 years, Weschler’s journalistic work won a George Polk Award (for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992) and a Lannan Literary Award (1998). Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (Pantheon, 1995), his book about the Museum of Jurassic Technology, was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (McSweeney’s, 2006), received the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

Source: School of Visual Arts