Brooklyn Public Library Hosts Epic 6-Hour “Evening of Concepts”

A Brooklyn event that was once held at the Central Library on Grand Army Plaza from sunset to sunset can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your home, wherever it is this year.

Virtualizing the Brooklyn Public Library’s 6th Annual “Night of Ideas” may be a necessity due to the pandemic, but it also enables the world-wide enjoyment of their Brooklyn-based program.

The six-hour event begins on Thursday, January 28th at 6 p.m. with a performance by New York poet and musician Patti Smith and lasts until midnight.

‘Night of Ideas’ is a collaboration with the cultural service of the French embassy. It runs in conjunction with the global 24-hour virtual La Nuit des idées, coordinated worldwide by the Institut Français and streamed in 75 countries.

Historian, author and visual artist Nell Painter and Mexican political scientist and journalist Yuri Herrera. Image (lr): Dwight Carter / Lisbeth Salas

The Brooklyn edition brings together artists, writers, critics, historians and philosophers from across the borough and beyond for a six-hour exploration of the world’s most pressing ideas.

“As a new year and chapter in American history begins, we hope that Night of Ideas will serve as a platform for culturally engaged people in Brooklyn and around the world to come together and discuss major civil and artistic issues in the world reflect our time to create the kind of open community forum that is so hard to find in this moment of social distancing and division, ”said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President for Arts and Culture at the Brooklyn Public Library.

The event, previously known as the ‘Night of Ideas and Philosophy’, this year will be devoted to questions such as: “How can artists correct their course for America with a forward-looking view?” and “How does the rest of the world see the United States a week after President Joe Biden’s inauguration?”

Artist Ai Weiwei Photo: Ai Weiwei Studio

It opens with a conversation between artist Ai Weiwei and New York Times editor Peter Catapano about ways artists can make course corrections for America’s future.

“The image of America does not match reality,” says Weiwei in a segment of the event and says that America has gone through a long phase of development since its inception and the struggle for human rights, freedom of expression, rule of law and democracy.

“America as an ideology is a restless pursuit that is generally perceived as a fixed reality.”

Egyptian-American journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy and British writer Hari Kunzru. Photo (lr): Robert E. Rutledge / Clayton Cubitt

BPL will then air an original short film with NYC filmmaker Astra Taylor that will provide a monologue on what it means to offer solidarity in a city like ours at this critical time, as well as monologues on “what to expect” from thinkers such as Suketu Mehta, Nell Painter, Peter Catapano, Jamieson Webster, and Renata Salecl.

Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Fritzi Bodenheimer said although the event will look a little different this year, it won’t be any less spirited with writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and philosophers from around the world exploring new ways to promote the Fellowship among ours seek shared isolation.

“The event is free and open to everyone. Regardless of whether you stay up late or come to us early, we know that you will be delighted. “

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