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9/15/22 - tools to observe our world

Tableau Physique (1807) by Alexander von Humboldt, Cornell Rare Books
Tableau Physique (1807) by Alexander von Humboldt, Cornell Rare Books

As part of the 2022 Cornell Biennial Celebrations - Mann Library and Cornell Council for the Arts are co-hosting a reception and talks on September 15, 4-6 pm

INDICATORS & SENSORS - tools artists and scientists use to conceptualize their world

Art and Science are both processes to understand the world around us. While facts are always changing, the residue of discovery by both science and art practices can tell us something about our historical selves, display processes by which we learn to detect and reflect the world, and inform fabulations that imagine futures for our shared world.

This eclectic group of speakers will cover several kinds “Indicators/sensors” from science and art as it relates to a 2022 Cornell Biennial commission by Jenifer Wightman --Sensing Change: Seasonal Color Shift of Species Succession -- a living, changing, and sensible art installation featured on the first floor of Mann Library from March 11-October 27.

Schedule of Events

4-5pm Mann Library Gallery (2nd floor) Reception - browse the artwork --18 years of mud paintings-- with refreshments and remarks by Cornell Biennial Curator, Tim Murry.

5pm in room 160 (first floor of Mann Library) for eclectic mix of presentations come in person to room 160 or register here for remote attendance

  • 5:00 Jenifer Wightman will provide some context to her work and introduce the guest speakers.
  • 5:15 Eleanor Harvey, Senior Curator of 19th c. art at the Smithsonian will speak about Alexander von Humboldt- the first climate scientist and the tools he carried with him around the world
  • 5:30 Dan Lewis, Senior Curator for the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library will speak about the history of color catalogues
  • 5:45 Jeni will make some closing remarks and open the room up for Q/A

Check out all the other Cornell Biennial Events (September 15-17), here:


  • Thanks to Dan Lewis and Eleanor Harvey for sharing their knowledge. Thanks to Tim and Tina for curating the 2022 Cornell Biennial, Futurities Uncertain and supporting this reception. Thanks also to Mann Library for supporting this reception and to all the staff at Cornell that support events like this, with a special shout out to Eveline, Jenny, and Craig.

Some Fun References

Haishoku sōkan / hensansha Wada Sanzō, 1883-1967.
Haishoku sōkan / hensansha Wada Sanzō, 1883-1967.