Are you drawn to Impressionism? Or more toward 3D computer art? Beauty
is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? Contrary to the old adage,
there may be universal biological principles that drive art’s appeal,
and its capacity to engage our brains and our interest. Through artworks
ranging from post-modernism to political caricature to 3D film,
Margaret S. Livingstone and Patrick Cavanagh join cartoonist Jules
Feiffer and others in an examination of newly understood principles of
Lawrence Weschler / Writer
Weschler was for over 20 years a staff writer at The New Yorker, where
his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He
is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award, for Cultural Reporting in
1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992, and was also a recipient of the
Lannan Literary Award. Among his many books are Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of
Wonder (1995), which was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the
National Book Critics Circle Award, and Everything that Rises: A Book
of Convergences, which received the 2007 National Book Critics Circle
Award for Criticism.
currently director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New
York University, where he has been a fellow since 1991, and from which
base he is trying to start his own semiannual journal of writing and
visual culture, Omnivore. He is also a distinguished writer in residence
at NYU’s Carter Journalism Institute. He concurrently holds the
position of artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
is a contributing editor to McSweeney’s, the Threepeeny Review, and The
Virginia Quarterly Review; curator at large of the DVD quarterly
Wholphin; (recently retired) chair of the Sundance (formerly Soros)
Documentary Film Fund; and director of the Ernst Toch Society, dedicated
to the promulgation of the music of his grandfather, the noted Weimar
Patrick Cavanagh / Cognitive Psychologist
Cavanagh helped change vision research by creating the Vision Sciences
Lab at Harvard and the Centre of Attention & Vision in Paris. He is
currently researching the problems of attention as a frequent component
of mental illnesses, learning difficulties at school, and workplace
Professor of Psychology at Harvard University Dr. Cavanagh’s work on
visual attention and its tracking functions has created new directions
in this field. In motion research, his distinction between first order
and second order motion became a fundamental distinction in the field of
published, Dr. Cavanagh is a member of the editorial board of five
journals, and was elected as Fellow of the Society of Experimental
Psychologists for his contributions to the community of visual and
Margaret S. Livingstone / Neurobiologist, Author
S. Livingstone is best known for her work on visual processing, which
has led to a deeper understanding of how we see color, motion, and
depth, and how these processes are involved in generating percepts of
objects as distinct from their background.
Livingstone is a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.
Her book, Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, illustrates insights in
the world of visual art, including an explanation for the elusive
quality of the Mona Lisa’s smile (it is more visible to peripheral
vision than to central vision) and that Rembrandt, like many artists,
may have been stereoblind.
collaboration with Albert Galaburda’s laboratory, Dr. Livingston’s
research on the differences in visual processing in subjects with
dyslexia has had a broad impact in the learning-disability field.
Christopher W. Tyler / Neuroscientist, Art Analyst
Tyler has spent his research career exploring how the eyes and brain
work together to produce meaningful vision. Dr. Tyler, director of The
Smith Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center, has developed rapid tests for the
diagnosis of diseases of this visual processing in infants and of
retinal and optic nerve diseases in adults. He has also studied visual
processing and photoreceptor dynamics in other species such as monkeys,
butterflies and fish.
Dr. Tyler’s main interests has been how the brain organizes the 2D
information provided by the two eyes into a full understanding of the
three-dimensional world in which we move and operate. In the process, he
developed the concept for the 'Magic Eye' images for showing 3D scenes
in a single image without special glasses, which became very popular in
Buzz Hays / 3D Pioneer
Hays is one of the pioneers in the field of 3D production, who in
recent years was responsible for overseeing the adaptation of
standard-release feature films into three-dimensional stereoscopic
versions for the IMAX 3D and Real D platforms. Hays’ work included
adapting Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf. Other projects for Sony Pictures
Imageworks included the Imagemotion performance-capture animated film
Monster House and the first CG feature from Sony Pictures Animation,
As Senior Vice
President, Sony 3D Technology Center, Sony Corporation of America, Hays
is the Chief Instructor for the Center, dedicated to the creation of
good 3D across movies, television, games and other platforms. He is
responsible for all curriculum development, instruction and training for
a broad range of people across the entertainment industry.
1993, Hays co-produced the independent film, Swimming With Sharks.
While at Lucasfilm THX, he was responsible for all research and
development efforts including the THX Sound System and Home THX. He also
oversaw the design, construction and installation of over 600 movie
theaters and film dubbing stages worldwide.
Jules Feiffer / Cartoonist, Playwright, Author
playwright, screenwriter and children’s book author & illustrator
Jules Feiffer has had a remarkable creative career turning contemporary
urban anxiety into witty and revealing commentary for over fifty years.
From his Village Voice editorial cartoons to his plays and screenplays,
including Little Murders and Carnal Knowledge, Feiffer’s satirical
outlook has helped define us politically, sexually and socially.
won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award for his cartoons; an Obie
for his plays; an Academy Award for the animation of his cartoon satire,
Munro; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Writers Guild of
America and the National Cartoonist Society. The first cartoonist
commissioned by The New York Times to create comic strips for their
Op-Ed page, Feiffer has since shifted his focus towards writing and
illustrating books for children and young adults including The Man in
the Ceiling, A Room with a Zoo, and Bark, George!
has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Northwestern University,
Dartmouth, and presently at Stony Brook Southampton College. He has been
honored with major retrospectives at the New York Historical Society,
the Library of Congress and The School of Visual Arts. His memoir,
Backing into Forward, relates how persistent failure inspired him to
reinvent himself as an artist over and over.