Things to Do, Sept. 8-15, 2017

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Lindsey Hadlock

Associate professor Andrew Hicks discusses musical harmony and medieval cosmology in a book talk Sept. 13 in Olin Library.

Artist Sama Alshaibi retraced the journeys of a 14th-century scholar through the Middle East, North Africa and the Maldives to record desert terrains and vast skies in “Sama Alshaibi: Silsila,” on display Sept. 9 to Dec. 24 at the

Named for the Arabic word for “link,” the exhibition features photographs and videos meant to represent the joining of individuals to one another, humans with the natural world, and the self to the divine. Referencing the formal qualities of Islamic art traditions, Alshaibi presents the female form isolated among spare landscapes as a metaphor for humanity and the natural world in colors, patterning and symmetry.

The museum hosts a Fall Party celebrating its new exhibitions, Sept. 8 from 5 to 11 p.m., co-sponsored by CUTonight. The event includes a guided tour of “From the Darkness of the Sea: The Cornell Collection of Blaschka Glass Invertebrate Models,” talks by curator Nancy Green and Corning Museum of Glass conservator Astrid van Giffen, flameworking demonstrations, the short film “Fragile Legacy,” and a 9 p.m. screening of “Finding Nemo” on the Mallin Sculpture Court (under the “Cosmos” installation). Museum admission is free.

Fighting words

Photographer Dana Hoey presents her work and current influences in an artist talk, “‘Can't Wait to Hit You in the Face’: Violence, Victimhood, and Pictures,” Sept. 11 at 5:15 p.m. in Milstein Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public; ideas and discussion are welcome.

Hoey is the fall 2017 Teiger Mentor in the Arts in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. A feminist artist who has taught and exhibited since 1996, her early work advanced the proposition that women should be more aggressive. Her most recent work returns to this question of aggression and violence – given “toxic masculinity,” she asks if it is time to consider harnessing fragility and victimhood for power.

A resident of Dutchess County, New York, Hoey has a BFA in philosophy from Wesleyan University and an MFA in photography from the Yale School of Art. Her solo exhibitions include shows at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit; Albany University Museum of Art; and the University of Maryland Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture.

John Cleese returns

The Provost’s Office and Cornell University Program Board present A Conversation with John Cleese, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in Bailey Hall. The “Monty Python” actor is a Provost’s Visiting Professor and a former A.D. White Professor-at-Large. Free tickets (limit two per person) are available at the Willard Straight Hall Resource Center.

A pre-screening conversation with Cleese and professor of government Jonathan Kirshner at “A Fish Called Wanda” – Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in Willard Straight Theatre, presented by Cornell Cinema – is sold out. There will be a rush ticket line at the door for any unclaimed seats.

Cornell Cinema’s Heist Hits series continues Sept. 14 at 9:20 p.m. with Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing.” The series includes “Baby Driver,” Sept. 29-30, and seven classic films through Nov. 16.

“Composing the World”

Andrew Hicks offers an intellectual history of the role of harmony in his new book, “Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos.” He will discuss the impact of the “music of the spheres” on our view of the universe in a Chats in the Stacks book talk, Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in 107 Olin Library. His talk is free and open to the public.

Scientists reported hearing the vibration of cosmic forces in 2016 in a transient gravitational-wave signal – the ripple of two black holes colliding more than a billion years ago. In his book, Hicks argues that sound – and the harmonious coordination of sounds, sources and listeners – has always been an integral part of the history of studying the cosmos, and how models of musical cosmology popular in late antiquity and the 12th century are relevant today.

Hicks is an associate professor of music and medieval studies in the Department of Music. He recently was awarded a prestigious Berlin Prize for 2017-18 as one of 21 scholars, writers and artists honored this year by the American Academy in Berlin.

Poetry reading

Writer Quan Barry will read from her latest book of poetry, “Loose Strife,” Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. Part of the Barbara and David Zalaznick Reading Series presented by the Department of English Creative Writing Program, the reading is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall.

The poems in “Loose Strife” are concerned with the ubiquity of violence and brutality across human history. The title, intended in the classical sense of “loosing battle” or “sowing chaos,” comes from “The Oresteia” trilogy by Aeschylus.

Born in Saigon and raised in Boston, Barry is a professor of English and directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of four books of poetry and the novel “She Weeps Each Time You’re Born,” the story of a Vietnamese girl who is able to speak to the dead.

Mapping metaphors

“Convergence,” an exhibition of work by Rebecca Rutstein, BFA ’93, continues through Sept. 29 in John Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome. A public reception is Friday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. in the gallery.

Rutstein is a Philadelphia-based artist for whom geologic forces, from gradual erosion to violent upheaval, are powerful metaphors for life experiences and the ebb and flow of relationships. Her recent work explores geometric abstraction inspired by scientific data and maps.

In 2015, she was invited to join scientists on the exploration vessel Nautilus for an expedition mapping the Pacific Ocean floor from the Galápagos Islands to California. She returned to sea with the research vessel Falkor in 2016 to explore uncharted territory from Vietnam to Guam. Using high-resolution data collected by shipboard multi-beam sonar technology, her paintings become mappings where scale is shifted and obscured, articulating fractal patterns found in nature.

With an interest in geology sparked by a class she took at Cornell, Rutstein has created site-specific art in such geologically dynamic environments as Iceland, Hawaii, the Canadian Rockies and Vermont. Her work – spanning painting, installation, sculpture and public art – has been featured on NPR, The Huffington Post and Vice magazine.


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