A Night of Philosophy & Ideas, at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, is an all-night marathon of philosophical debate, performances, screenings, readings, music, and virtual reality experiences takes over the entirety of the iconic Central Library.
This year’s participants will consider humanity’s relationship to the world, to nature, to other living beings and species, and to technology. They will ask: What is the meaning of life? How do we live our lives from beginning to end, be it striving or barely surviving? How do we define that experience and how do we situate ourselves in this world?
French-American economist Esther Duflo, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, will kick off the evening with a keynote address. The lineup also features a French anthropologist, sociologist, and physician Didier Fassin, professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales; Catherine Malabou, Professor of Philosophy at Kingston University (UK) and UCI; Maïa Mazaurette, a Brooklyn-based French author, columnist, and illustrator whose work deals with contemporary sexuality and the body’s place in society; and Barbara Stiegler, professor of philosophy at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France.
Performances will include Unnamed, from Jérôme Thomas, a French juggler whose work integrates contemporary dance and theatre, and Armenian-Syrian artist Hratch Arbach’s MAWTINI: lost homelands, in a site-specific installation. The event will also feature a late-night screening of Jacques Rivette’s landmark 1971 film Out 1, and an exhibition of work by New York-based visual artist Mary Mattingly, whose “sculptural ecosystems” in urban spaces include Swale and Pull, and who founded the Waterpod Project (2009), a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York.