BUFFALO, N.Y. — Magic. Invisible worlds. The
end of the universe and the future of life.
Since 2009, the Buffalo Science & Art Cabaret has
entertained the public by bringing artists and top university
researchers together to discuss these and other topics in a casual
setting: a basement bar.
Now, the event series is celebrating the start of its 5th
season, which opens Oct. 23 with a conversation on
“Hysteresis.” The word refers to the way the history of
a system influences its current state, and speakers will discuss
how the theme of memory relates to fields from physics to
Series co-founder Will Kinney, an associate professor of physics
at the University at Buffalo, says the cabaret’s
“secret sauce” is its ability to reveal how people
working in diverse fields are often thinking and talking about
similar problems — without knowing it.
“We started the Science & Art Cabaret in 2009 because
we wanted to do something different,” Kinney says. “We
wanted to pull science out of the stuffy lecture hall and show that
it really is a creative activity: vital, lively, human and fun.
From this perspective, mixing science and art was a natural thing
“Every cabaret starts like a joke: ‘A reverend, a
poet and a mathematician walk into a bar…’” he
“Hysteresis” will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.
23 at the Ninth Ward at Babeville at 341 Delaware Ave.,
As usual, the event is free and open to the public, with a cash
bar. The lineup:
- Will Kinney, UB associate professor of physics, will
“introduce the most important scientific concept you have
never heard of.”
- Douglas Levere, UB and commercial photographer, will
talk about his book project, “New York Changing.”
- Hong Luo, UB chair of physics, will talk about
hysteresis, “that thing you can’t live
- Laurence Shine, Buffalo State English department faculty
member, will speak on “Joyce’s obsession with
The Science & Art Cabaret is a collaboration between the UB College of Arts and
Contemporary Arts Center and the Buffalo Museum of
Each event in the series invites a hodgepodge of artists and
researchers to share stories and work on a common topic. Past
presenters have included a pastor, a psychologist, a painter, an
artist who draws cadavers, an illusionist, a law school professor,
an electronic music ensemble and more.
“While we always enter into each themed cabaret with
confidence in the general idea and the invited participants, we can
never determine how it will all play out,” says cabaret
co-founder John Massier, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center visual
“In beautifully organic/artistic/scientific fashion, we
have found our diverse presenters often overlap in curious ways,
calling back to each other’s ideas, and confirming what we
always suspected when we began this ongoing program: that there
is... umm… a force that binds us all. Or two forces,
perhaps, each elemental and integral to the fields of science and
art: critical thinking and imagination,” Massier says.
Besides Hysteresis, the 2013-14 cabaret season will include four
additional events between now and April: “Scale,”
“Mapping,” “The Brain” and “Data
Mine, Data Yours.”
“Both artists and scientists are exploratory creatures,
investigating and re-imagining our world (and all other possible
worlds),” Massier says. “Sometimes it's not about
answers, but about lots and lots of questions. The end of each
cabaret, for me, always has a nice lingering effect, not because
anything has necessarily been figured out, but because we've filled
the air with the whiff of speculation and dreams."