All posts by arttech

Sleeping Through a Revolution: The Moral Framework of the Technology Revolution

The Art + Tech Committee is excited to host Jonathan Taplin, author of Outlaw Blues and Adventures in the Counter-Culture Wars. Jonathan is a professor at the University of Southern California, and the producer of Scorsese’s Mean Streets and The Band’s The Last Waltz.

The comedian Louis CK has remarked that in our smartphone-obsessed world, “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” Could it be that some core ethical principles are being neglected as we drive towards ever more addictive apps? Jonathan will discuss some of the problems the consolidation of the Internet business poses for content owners in movies, music, books, journalism and games.

The Birth of Hip-Hop with Tommy Silverman & Lee Quiñones

The Art & Technology Committee brings you Tommy Silverman, founder of both Tommy Boy Records and the New Music Seminar, and Lee Quiñones, leading innovator of the street-art movement in New York and pioneer of subway graffiti art.  Tommy and Lee will break down for us how the eclectic ramshackle culture within five square miles of the South Bronx in New York City changed art, dance, music and entertainment for the next thirty years.  Tommy worked with such hip-hop pioneers as De La Soul, Digital Underground, Afrika Bambaataa and Queen Latifah.  Early attendees at New Music Seminar included Madonna, Nirvana, Ice Cube, GWAR, James Brown, and Lou Reed.

Graffiti Artist Lee Quiñones became a legend in the late 1970’s for his unique artwork seen throughout the New York subway system. Lee was a major contributor to one of the first-ever whole-train graffiti murals, and many of his iconic works can be found in such exhibits as the Whitney Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York. Lee also contributed several pieces to one of the most sold art books in history, Subway Art.

Alexandre Tannous: Exploring Sound

Please join us on Tuesday, April 21, at 8 p.m. as the Art & Technology Committee welcomes its next speaker, Alexandre Tannous, composer and ethnomusicologist, as he discusses sound and its connections with the body, mind and spirit.

Humans have been drawn to music since the beginning of time. Ancient and contemporary religions, shamanic societies, mystical and spiritual sects have revered sound to be the ultimate source in the universe and intricately connected to consciousness. Using case studies Alexandre will talk about the benefits of sound as a tool for therapy, to explore spiritual dimensions of consciousness, to reveal the higher self, and to enhance self-awareness. Alexandre will explain what gives sound this power and what causes the physiological effects on the body and mind.

Alexandre, who has studied and taught at Columbia University, has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives – Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs – to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. As an ethnomusicologist his approach entails a social scientific study of sound use in several traditional contexts: religious, spiritual, holistic, and cultural.

Alexandre continues his research on sound and practices as a sound therapist.

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us.

Zuzanna Skalska: Awareness of Change

Please join us on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7 p.m. as the Art & Technology Committee hosts its next speaker- Zuzanna Skalska. Zuzanna is a celebrated trend watcher, and will share how, in a world characterized by innovation frenzy and hyper-acceleration, she analyzes and intuits forces of change in the economy, society, technology, environment, and politics – long before such trends become obvious to others.

Zuzanna will illustrate the art and science of trend watching by discussing the latest design trends in different industries, and will deliver colorful and beautifully visualized storytelling that inspires the imagination.

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us.


Drones: Creativity and Controversy

The Art & Tech Committee of the National Arts Club is excited to announce our next talk – a candid conversation about drones and art.

This evening will bring together Randy Scott Slavin, Brendan Schulman and Mark Devries to talk drones and what space they occupy within the legal and creative landscapes.
Randy Scott Slavin is a drone cinematographer who founded the NYC Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival exclusively dedicated to drone cinema. Brendan Schulman is the preeminent drone lawyer who is fighting the most famous drone case in the US. Mark Devries is a young documentary filmmaker whose first documentary “Speciesism” gained a lot of attention when he used a drone to get footage of “factory farms” hidden deep in remote areas of the countryside. 

WYLIE DUFRESNE at the National Arts Club

The Art & Technology Committee of the National Arts Club is excited to announce its next speaker, a culinary visionary, chef Wylie Dufresne.

Through a synthesis of art and science, Wylie transformed the New York restaurant scene with his innovative and groundbreaking cuisine at wd~50 and has brought a modern interpretation of pub food to life with his newest restaurant Alder. He has been awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Best NYC Chef and was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University.

Wylie will join us at the club on January 29th at 8pm to talk about modern American cuisine and the relationship between food and science.
This is going to be a fun event. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited. We hope you can join us.

VITO ACCONCI at The National Arts Club

On December 4 at 8:00 pm the Art & Technology Committee welcomes Vito Acconci.  From poetry and provocative performance art to sublime architecture and beyond, Mr. Acconci is one of the most iconoclastic and influential artists of our time.  This will be the Art & Technology Committee’s last event of 2014.

Vito Acconci’s design & architecture comes from another direction, from backgrounds of writing & art. His poems in the late 60’s treated language as matter (words to look at rather than through) & the page as a field to travel over; his performances in the early 70’s helped shift art from object to interaction; later in the 70’s, his installations turned museums & galleries into interactions between spaces & people; in the early 80’s, his architectural-units were meant to be transformed by users. By the late 80’s his work crossed over & he formed Acconci Studio, a design firm that mixes poetry & geometry, computer-scripting & sentence-structure, narrative & biology, chemistry & social-science.

The Studio uses computers to give form to thinking; they use forms to find ideas. They make not nodes so much as circulation-routes, they design time as much as space. Their design starts with clothing & ends with vehicles – in-between, they design buildings that slip into landscape & vice versa; they make spaces fluid, changeable & portable; they make architecture subservient to people & not vice versa — they anticipate cities on the move.

Built in the last decade are, in Graz, a person-made island where the theater, a bowl, twists to become a playground on its way to becoming a dome, a restaurant; in Tokyo, a clothing store as soft as clothing; in Coney Island an elevated subway-station façade that waves & bulges to make views & seats; in Toronto, a building-complex fence that twists & rises up the building to make wind-screens, & splits to make public-places. Being built now, in Indianapolis, is an interactive tunnel through a building where pedestrians & cyclists activate sensors that set off lights that swarm around them like fireflies.

An Evening with Milton Glaser

Graphic design legend, Milton Glaser, speaks on all of our favorite topics, Art, Design, Love & Sex, in what will surely be a memorable and thought provoking evening.

Milton Glaser revolutionized the fields of art and design through decades of iconic work including the “I Love New York” logo (and after September 11th, was transformed into I Love NY More Than Ever), the DC Comics “DC bullet” logo, the famous Bob Dylan album cover and the recent MadMen poster. He co-founded New York Magazine, which became the prototype for city magazines and service journalism across the country.

Milton Glaser (b.1929) is among the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States. He has had the distinction of one-man-shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Center. In 2004 he was selected for the lifetime achievement award of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. As a Fulbright scholar, Glaser studied with the painter, Giorgio Morandi in Bologna, and is an articulate spokesman for the ethical practice of design. He opened Milton Glaser, Inc. in 1974, and continues to produce an astounding amount of work in many fields of design to this day.

Photo by Michael Somoroff

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Shane Smith: Vice and the Art of Storytelling

Join the Art & Technology Committee for an evening with Shane Smith, founder and CEO of Vice Media. Vice launched in 1994 as a punk magazine distributed on the streets of Montreal, and has since become a global youth media brand with offices in 34 countries. It operates an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house and a feature film division. Shane is also a critically acclaimed journalist. As the executive producer and host of the Emmy nominated news series, Vice, on HBO, Shane has reported from the world’s most isolated and difficult places, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Liberia. Shane makes no secret of his desire to help bring about the changing of the guard within the media. He believes young people are starting to find a voice, and they are not looking to traditional media to reflect that. With its upcoming launch of a global news channel, Vice is well on the way to becoming that voice. RSVP required at:

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Graham Hancock To Speak On Exploring Consciousness: From Upper Paleolithic Cave Art to Modern Day Shamanism

Join the Art & Technology Committee for an evening with Graham Hancock as he introduces his new book War God and shares his thought-provoking views on non-ordinary states of consciousness. Graham is a best-selling author, having sold over 5 million copies of his books worldwide, and is recognized as an unconventional thinker who challenges entrenched views of orthodox scholars.

Graham’s research into the ancient Egyptian books of the dead, shamanism, Upper Paleolithic cave art and sacred plants, and his studies of phenomena construed by different cultures at different times as encounters with “gods”, “angels”,”demons” ,”spirits”, “fairies” and most recently as “aliens” have led him to propose that non-ordinary states of consciousness have played a fundamental role in the story of humanity.

Graham will weave a compelling story of these seemingly unrelated phenomena, and will tell us why our culture ignores their significance at its peril.


Graham- Hancock

Please join us Thursday October 9 at 8:00 pm as Graham Hancock returns to speak about exciting
new evidence that supports his controversial thesis that a civilization flourished deep in prehistory and was destroyed.

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Graham Hancock at the National Arts Club: The research behind his novel War God

Graham speaks at an Art and Technology Committee event at the historic National Arts Club in Gramercy Park – New York City. He covers his extensive research on the Aztec culture and history necessary to write his novel “War God”.

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Graham Hancock at the National Arts Club: Exploring Consciousness

Graham Hancock gives a lecture for the historic National Arts Club- Art and Technology Committee to a capacity audience. The title of the lecture is “Exploring Consciousness: Upper Paleolithic Cave Art to Modern Day Shamanism”. He covers his views on consciousness, his controversial TED Talk, and his experiences working with visionary plants.

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Medal of Honor : Dr. Neil degrasse Tyson

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is widely regarded as the world’s most renowned astrophysicist and science communicator. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Dr.Tyson’s passion for astronomy was evident from his lectures on the subject at the age of 15, which gained him early fame in the community.

Today he is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. His career has been distinguished by Presidential appointments, including the “Moon, Mars and Beyond” commission, which helped develop U.S. space exploration policy. He is the recipient of countless awards, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA. Known for his vibrant character and cheerful
demeanor, Dr. Tyson appears regularly in the media, including PBS NOVA scienceNOW, The History Channel’s “The Universe” and his radio talk show “Star Talk.” He has written more than a dozen books on the mysteries of the universe, and lectures frequently on diverse topics from spirituality to art.On June 27 we honor Dr. Tyson with the Gold Medal of Honor for his contributions as an exemplary educatorand scientist. The night promises to be spectacularcelebration of the man People Magazine calls the “Sexiest Astrophysicist” alive.

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Dennis McKenna Returns to The National Arts Club


In 2010 the Art and Technology Committee hosted a presentation by Dennis McKenna in which he shared his ideas about the origins of the human imagination. We’re pleased to announce that Dennis will return to discuss his new book entitled Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.

In Brotherhood, Dennis Talks of his life with his late brother Terence, well known as a radical philosopher, futurist, raconteur and cultural commentator. Dennis and Terrence’s ideas advocate strongly for the arts. Terence once proclaimed that

“art’s task is to save the soul of mankind, and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because if the artists who are self-selected for being able to journey into the Other, cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”

Dennis will place the roll of art and creativity into historical context, particularly with respect to the development of cognition in our species. And well hear why, in a world dominated by accelerating technological change, art represents an endeavor through which we can maintain our humanness.

Books will be available for purchase, and Dennis will be available to sign them and answer questions. We hope you’ll join us for what promises to be an insightful and fun evening.


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Origins of The Human Imagination Plant-Human Coevolution

Imagination makes us human. Certainly it’s at the heart of all art. Yet we rarely stop to consider where the imagination came from. If evolution endows nature’s creatures with traits that aid in survival and reproduction, what may she have intended when she created the imagination? And from a physiological perspective, how may the imagination have come about.

Please join us as renowned ethnopharmacologist Dr. Dennis McKenna discusses how our ancestors’ interactions with plants over millions of years may have laid the foundation for imagination.

The biochemical co-evolutionary relationship between plants and insects are well-studied. The same principles apply to co-evolution with herbivores which includes humans. Interactions between plant chemical compounds and our complex neural machinery, which can trigger synesthesia- the nexus where sound, vision and symbol come together-may have been the stimulus for the cognitive evolution of the mind. Many have experienced these effects in the form of the psychedelic experience, but their impact on our culture predates the 60’s by several million years. In fact, plants may have given us the ability to understand meaning and abstractions, therefore laid the foundation for language. And with language came the ability to share ideas across continents and centuries, which reacted the very foundation for culture.

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Social Media / Visually Informed

Please join us as social media expert and futurist Dennis Mancini shares his vision of the world – a unique take on where we are today, and the consequence of where we’re headed. We’ll hear how social media, virtual worlds, genetics, artificial intelligence, and nano are weaving tomorrow’s reality, together with economics, demographics, culture and human nature.  We’ll hear why being part of a community grounds us, and why presence of mind will be essential to navigating tomorrow’s world. Mancini will illustrate the lecture with his unique drawings – visual representations of trends, relationships and phenomenon that define our world.


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Sounds (de)mystified

We experience much of the world through our ears and auditory system, which sense and translate the vibrations around us into the sounds we hear. Although we are immersed in sound nearly ever moment, like a fish that is unaware of the water, we are barely aware of the miracles at work.

Sound’s impact on human culture extends far beyond speech and music. The ancients revered sound as the ultimate source in the universe, and recognized its intricate connection to consciousness. And shamanic societies used sound to perform healing ceremonies at a level that is still beyond our understanding.

Alexandre Tannous, an ethnomusicologist who studied and taught at Columbia University, has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from scientific, shamanic, historical, practical and theoretical perspectives. This evening, Alexandre will discuss his attempts to bridge the Western scientific understanding of sound with Eastern philosophies and shamanic societal beliefs. He will discuss basic acoustic principles, sound phenomena, music mathematical ratios, the physiological effects of sound on the body and mind, and how sound impacts consciousness, quantum physics and the nature of reality.

With gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, bells, and tuning forks, Alexandre will conclude with a short sound meditation, and will demonstrate how harmonic overtones can help us disconnect from energetic, physical, mental, emotional and psychological habitual patterns.


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Digital Inventions: Creativity and the Human-Digital Interface

Join the Art & Technology Committee for it’s inaugural presentation: a discussion with artists Scott Draves and Luke DuBois about the creative process in today’s digital age. Draves will demonstrate his Dreams in High Fidelity, a dynamic digital painting whose subject is evolving artificial life, which recreates the biological phenomena of evolution and reproduction through mathematics. The system is made of man and machine, a collective cyborg mind with 450,000 participant computers and people around the world.

Luke Dubois is a composer, artist and performer who has lectured worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. Dubois is the co-author of Jitter, a music software based on the real time manipulation of matrix data for live musical performance. He appears on twenty-five albums both individually and as part of The Freight Elevator Quartet, an avant-garde electronic group he co-founded.