Diane Ackerman + Todd Sacktor
Mnemonic Art Tour in the galleries
Karma Chain on the spiral staircase
Program in the theater
Book signing in the cafe
The stand-by list becomes available at the admissions desk exactly two (2) hours before the start of the program. You must be physically present to sign up on the list. Any available tickets will be released to the stand-by list, in order, beginning ten minutes before the start of the program. Each person can purchase up to two tickets. You must be physically present at the time your name is called or your place in line will be forfeited. Unfortunately, we are unable to predict how many tickets, if any, may become available.
Chairman's Circle members of the museum have first priority to purchase tickets for sold-out programs, should tickets become available. Please call 212.620.5000 ext. 344 to inquire about membership.
Presented with the Rusk Insitutute
Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry, including the best-selling A Natural History of the Senses. Her most recent book, One Hundred Names for Love, has been described by Booklist as: "A gorgeously engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening love story of crisis, determination, creativity, and repair." Her memoir, The Zookeeper's Wife, received the Orion Book Award. Her other works of nonfiction include: An Alchemy of Mind, a poetics of the brain based on the latest neuroscience; Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden; Deep Play, which considers play, creativity, and our need for transcendence; A Slender Thread, about her work as a crisisline counselor; The Rarest of the Rare and The Moon by Whale Light, in which she explores the plight and fascination of endangered animals; A Natural History of Love; On Extended Wings, her memoir of flying; and A Natural History of the Senses.
Todd C. Sacktor, M.D. is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neurology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He pioneered research into a chemical which, when targeting PKMzeta molecules in the brain, has allowed the erasure of specific memories in rats. Dr. Sacktor is also a clinical neurologist and has treated patients with aphasia and other issues.
Photo credit Joshua Prezant for The Guardian
Mnemonic Art Tour
Take advantage of a short tour of some paintings in the collection that function as mnemonic devices. The iconography in these paintings serve to reference specific passages in the sutras. That is why most of these works were not meant to be revealed to those who were not already initiates. The tour will include two types of paintings: narratives such as the life of the Buddha, and mandalas which are complex two-dimensional diagrams of one’s multi-dimensional state of mind.
As a prelude to the staged program, we are planning to stage a simple game of ‘telephone’ prior to the session to demonstrate the fallibility of oral transmission and the nature of short-term memory. Each ticket holder will stand on one of the steps of the 108-stepped spiral staircase of the Museum. The guest speaker stands at the base, whispers a short phrase they have prepared to the visitor on the first step, and the phrase would spiral up through the line until it reaches the ear of the scientist. The conversationalists will only reveal the original phrase and the result phrase when on stage in the theater, thus starting the conversation about memory.