All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks.
Friday, September 5
We, The Outsiders Opening Reception
We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. Curated by Chus Martinez, We, The Outsiders brings together works (including the above video) by an international quartet of artists, and will be on view at the physical gallery space of e-flux (the publishing platform, archive, artist project, curatorial platform, and enterprise founded in 1998) through September and October. If you enjoy contemplating the philosophy of art and the potential solipsism of creativity, consider attending the opening ceremony, where Martinez will be in conversation with Boris Groys—noted art critic, media theorist and philosopher.
Reception 6-9pm (conversation begins 8pm), e-flux (311 East Broadway), FREE
Monday, September 8
Megan Abbot + Chelsea Cain
Who says girls can’t be crime writers? Well, no one actually, because that’s clearly not a valid argument. But just in case some loser out there is preparing his talking points, let me present a succinct rebuttal: Megan Abbott and Chelsea Cain. Abbot is author of recently released The Fever (“a chilling story about guilt, family secrets, and the lethal power of desire” set in a small town whose female teenage inhabitant are in the throes of a mysterious plague), while Cain has produced numerous best-selling books. Her latest, One Kick, is the first in a new series featuring protagonist Kick Lannigan—famously kidnapped as a child, and now called upon to help solve a new missing child case. These ladies are clearly queens of suspense: The Guardian called One Kick “a dark, dangerous journey into evil to find the vanished children, and entirely hide-away-until-you-finish-it gripping,” while the New York Times found The Fever “a gripping and unsettling novel.” See the terrible two in conversation at The Strand.
7pm-8pm, Strand Book Store (828 Broadway), Buy a copy of The Fever or One Kick in order to attend
Linda Davies and Jon McGoran Reading
And if that doesn’t sound thrilling enough for you, why not head instead to KGB Bar, where novelists Jon McGoran and Linda Davies will be reading from recent work. McGoran has written about food and sustainability for many years, but has a burgeoning book-writing business on the side. His recently released second novel, Deadout, injects his passion for environmental issues into a deftly handled detective story, complete with genetically modified super bees and dastardly biotech corporations. “McGoran fluidly blends science and suspense in his outstanding second eco-thriller,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. Davies, meanwhile, is a former investment banker, whose debut novel Nest of Vipers has now sold over 2 million copies. Vipers is a financial industry thriller, driven by a risk-taking female foreign exchange trader stuck between a rock (the Mafia) and a hard place (the British SIS). The evening will be hosted by Richie Narvaez.
7pm-9pm, KGB Bar (85 E 4th St), FREE
Tuesday, September 9
Zakia Salime: Gender and Sexuality in the Arab Uprisings
Zakia Salime is a scholar of sociology and women and gender studies, whose work focuses on the fascinating intersection of feminist and Islamist politics. Her book Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco (2011) examines the interplay between global concepts of human rights and localized alternatives. In so doing, the study reveals how these complex negotiations have led to the feminization of the Islamist movement one the one hand, and the Islamization of the feminist movement on the other. If you’re sick of reading simplistic arguments about the subjugation or otherwise of Muslim women, Salime is a breath of fresh air. Her work forgoes the common conception of Islam and feminism as inherently antagonistic doctrines, and reframes Muslim women as agents negotiating global policies and building alternative understandings of rights.
6:30pm-8pm, The Graduate Center, CUNY (365 Fifth Avenue, Room 9207), FREE
Wednesday, September 10
First things first: if you haven’t been to Morbid Anatomy Museum yet, you’re missing out on a hotbed of macabre romance. Now that that’s settled, why not go along and learn things whilst perusing the petrified remains? Next week, author and poet Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz will be relating the story of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, the founder of Philidelphia’s heralded Mütter Museum—arguably America’s finest museum of medical oddities. Mütter was a brilliant young surgeon whose compassion-based philosophies were revolutionary for his time, and whose enthusiasm for collecting paved the way for the museum erected in his name. O’Keefe Aptowicz is a prolific poet and author; Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine is her second foray into non-fiction.
8pm, Morbid Anatomy Museum (424A 3rd Ave, Brooklyn), tickets $5 and available , book copies will be available for sale and signing
Thursday, September 11
Christian Rudder presents Dataclysm
Christian Rudder is co-founder and President of OkCupid—yes, the same OkCupid that has rescued your “love” life from the doldrums and is now the only reason you ever leave the house even though sometimes it makes you feel as if the search is futile—and he’s now also the author of Dataclysm. The book is subtitled Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), and whether that sounds ominous to you or not probably depends on your stance on the highly controversial personal data mining carried out by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and (yes!) OkCupid. Blithely sidestepping the political ramifications of such practices, Rudder instead dives enthusiastically into the social science potential of big data. Dataclysm examines what our online lives reveal about who we really are, focusing intently on the magical potential of the algorithm.
7pm, WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin Street), FREE