Morbid Anatomy Presents at Observatory Travels to Manhattan with 3-Part “Body as Funhouse Mirror” Lecture Series!
Morbid Anatomy Presents at Observatory is coming to The Big City (New York City, that is), with 3 lectures to be hosted by the Cornelia Street Café, care of our good buddies (and co-Observatarians) The Hollow Earth Society. The theme of the lecture grouping is “Body as Funhouse Mirror,” and features past favorite Observatory speakers Amy Herzog, Mark Dery and Sharon Shattuck.
Full details on the series can be found below; hope to see you at one or all three of these great encore lectures!
The Pornographic Arcades Project: Adaptation, Automation, and the Evolution of Times Square (1965-1975)
Date: Sunday, January 29
Time: 6:00 PM
Herzog’s talk challenges our notion of what makes a city (sex)—and who constitutes a voyeur: Motion picture “peeping” machines have existed since the birth of cinema, and were often stocked with salacious titles. Public arcades devoted to pornographic peep booths only began to appear in the late 1960s, however, although once established, they proliferated wildly, becoming ubiquitous features in urban landscapes… The Pornographic Arcades Project is a work-in-progress, asking what a study of pornographic peep show arcades might reveal about the cultural imaginary of the late twentieth century.
Amy Herzog is associate professor of media studies and coordinator of the film studies program at Queens College, CUNY. She is the author of Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film. She recently curated “Peeps,” an exhibition at The James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center, on the dialogue between pornographic peep loops and contemporary art practices.
Parasites: A User’s Guide
Date: Sunday, February 26
Time: 6:00 PM
Parasites challenges the notions of body, friend, inside, and out—and it’s funny! (Not to mention a tad horrific…) The word “parasite” comes with loads of vile connotations, but in nature, nothing is purely good or evil. In the 27-minute experimental documentary Parasites: A User’s Guide, Shattuck embarks on a journey to decode some of the most misunderstood creatures on earth. The dramatic rise in autoimmune diseases, asthma, and allergies since the turn of the last century has confounded scientists, but some researchers think they have uncovered the key to controlling the skyrocketing rates: tiny parasitic worms called helminths… Through the seeming oxymoron of the “helpful parasite,” Sharon questions the nature of our relationship with parasites—and suggests a new paradigm for the future.
Sharon Shattuck is a producer/director/animator with Sweet Fern Productions, the production company she founded. Her previous experience includes work with the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum, NPR’s On The Media, and internships with WNYC’s Radiolab, and the BBC World Service/Stakeholder Forum. She has an undergraduate degree in forest ecology and a graduate degree in documentary and broadcast journalism. Her first film, the short Parasites: A User’s Guide (2010), was an official selection of the Traverse City Film Festival, the Camden International Film Festival, the Michigan Film Festival, and the International Science Film Festival. In addition to her work with Sweet Fern, she is a member of the creative team at Wicked Delicate Films.(sweetfernproductions.com / wickedelicate.com)
The Pathological Sublime and The Anatomical Unconscious
Date: Sunday, April 29
Time: 6:00 PM
Celebrating the publication of his essay collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams (University of Minnesota Press), cultural critic and cult author Mark Dery will lecture— with unforgettable slides—on the hallucinatory Crypt of the Cappuchin monks in Rome, the uncanny wax mannequins at La Specola in Florence, and the 19th-century Chinese artist Lam Qua’s paintings of patients with eye-poppingly bizarre tumors, which so fascinated Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. that he wrote an article exhorting all “worshipers of morbid anatomy” to see the paintings, a textbook example of what Holmes called “the pathological sublime.” Join Mark for a dark ride through the Pathological Sublime and the Anatomical Unconscious, and pick up a copy of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, the book Boing Boing called “an intellectual journey through our darkest desires and strangest inclinations.”
Mark Dery is a cultural critic. He is best known for his writings on the politics of popular culture in books such as The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, Flame Wars, and Culture Jamming. He has been a professor of journalism at New York University, a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, and a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome. His latest book, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, is “a head-spinning intellectual ride through American dreams and American nightmares” and will be available at his Cornelia Street Observatory engagement. (thoughtcatalog.com/author/mark-dery)
If you love Radio Lab, Cabinet magazine, the Surreal, the quirky, and the macabre, you’ll definitely dig Cornelia Street Observatory.