Event details

Civilisation: Creating new worlds - 5. What Makes a Genius: From Voltaire to Edison - Friday series
Friday, 19 September 2014 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Program: Civilisation: Creating new worlds

Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

Lecturer: Dr Christopher Hartney

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Societies change incrementally, in ways that seem to leave little room for individual creative genius – yet that genius still exists. In light of arguments about the impossibility of free will, in this lecture we will examine how, from the medieval period through to the Enlightenment, individuals have struggled to disprove the ancient adage that there is nothing new under the sun; and we investigate the specific creative practices that gave us the Modern World.

Image: Palaeolithic bulls and other animals crowd calcite walls at Lascaux_ (detail). Photograph by Sisse Brimberg, National Geographic. Getty Images.

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Civilisation: Creating new worlds

This compelling lecture series investigates the heart of the creativity. As civilisations throughout history have sought renewal and survival, the human capacity for creativity, innovation and problem-solving has remained the master key to recovery from crisis. The New in all its forms, however, can be a powerful shock to both sensibility and stability. It is often seen as a zone of deviancy, constantly threatening to bring disorder and chaos. In this multi-media series, renowned Gallery lecturer and academic Dr Christopher Hartney unveils what we know of the mechanisms of human creativity and how we can turn it to our advantage. He utilises his extensive knowledge of the civilisations of the past to retell the titanic battles between the constraint and unleashing of creativity. This series will explore how worldviews are renewed, and how and why art is vital to the process.

Civilisation: Creating new worlds is designed for those fascinated with the operations of the human mind, and how it makes art. It will appeal equally to lovers of world history and to those who delight in the creative workings of the human mind. The series will inspire creators and innovators who seek new insight into the vast range of ancient and modern practices of invention and renewal. Examples will range from the trance states of shamans and diviners, through to analytical creativity, the role of randomness, and how we solve problems. The study of civilisation meets the latest developments in the cognitive sciences in this enthralling story.