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A performance at the Central Library during 2017’s edition of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas (all photos by Gregg Richards, courtesy the Brooklyn Public Library)

As anyone who has spent a long night cramming for a Philosophy 101 exam will tell you, marathon overnight sessions are not necessarily the best way to absorb philosophical ideas and concepts. However, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy are on a mission to make late-night philosophic investigation exciting and social with the series of annual, 12-hour extravaganzas, A Night of Philosophy and Ideas. The fourth iteration in the series takes place this weekend, from Saturday evening through Sunday morning, at the BPL’s Central Library, with a full slate of screenings, readings, panels, performances, and more.

Things get underway Saturday night with an 8pm screening of short, silent documentaries capturing the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968 (including pieces shot by Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Luc Godard), as well as artist Sherrill Roland performing his Jumpsuit Project in the library’s Grand Lobby. At 9pm, librarian and scholar Nomi Naeem lectures on sacred and banned books; at 9:3opm, artist Abigail Reynolds presents her project visiting 15 lost libraries along the Silk Road; and at 10 pm, Columbia University professor Michele Moody-Adams discusses the significance and role of public monuments. If you prefer applied philosophy, fear not: the magicians Harrison Kramer, Sam Gherman, and Rich Torres will be performing around the Grand Lobby between 8pm Saturday and 2am Sunday. At midnight, a collective shot in the arm will be provided by a performance of the Resistance Revival Chorus.

Those who stick around through the early hours of Sunday will be handsomely rewarded. At 1:30am, members of the MTL Collective will discuss the important role of political and public art. At 2:30am, philosopher Simon Critchley and instructor Keri Setaro will lead a joint philosophy and yoga session in the grand lobby. Seven short films by visual artists (including Bertrand Dezoteux, Jonathan Martin, and Lola Gonzàlez) will be screened at 3:30am. And at 4am, professor Aleksandra Przegalińska will pose one of the essential questions of our time: “Can a human have a meaningful relationship with a humanoid robot?” At 5am, breakfast will be served, courtesy Colson Patisserie, to help revive tired brain cells for the final two hours of the event.

When: Saturday, January 27 at 7pm–Sunday, January 28 at 7am
Where: Brooklyn Public Library Central Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

A reading at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library during 2017’s edition of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas

A performance at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library during 2017’s edition of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas

More info at A Night of Philosophy and Ideas.

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...