Sean Scully + Anjan Chatterjee
Abstract Cognition
Saturday February 4, 2012 @ 2:45 PM

The Irish-born painter Sean Scully is best known for his abstract stripe paintings. Twice nominated for the Turner Prize, Scully’s 2007 installation Wall of Light toured extensively before a well-received sojourn at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anjan Chatterjee is Professor Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and founding director of The Neuroethics Society and in 2004 coined the term ‘cognitive enhancement’.

“I don’t think beauty is simply a question of appearances. It can come out left field and redefine itself. It can be something you’ve never seen before, or it can be something you think you have seen before, like my work, that presents itself with another life.” – Sean Scully

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.

Karma Chain
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.