How did your smartphone descend from an eighteenth-century desk, and then reveal its secrets?

The fundamental values behind our smart phones are the product of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. In one of the most creative design movements of all time, the personal writing desk was invented, along with other furniture types we take for granted, like the sofa. What was new about these inventions? What technologies made them possible? And how have our digital technologies begun to reveal the deep meanings behind Enlightenment design?



Professor of Art History, Barnard College.

Anne Higonnet, Ann Whitney Olin Professor at Barnard, works on eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century art, childhood, and collecting. A Harvard College B.A, she received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1988. She has published five print books and dozens of articles on topics ranging from Impressionism to contemporary photography. Her many awards include Guggenheim, Getty, Social Science Research Council fellowships, and a Barnard Presidential Research Award, as well as grants from the Howard and Kress Foundations. She is also a popular lecturer program for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and is currently working on a project to enter remotely into eighteenth-century period rooms through digital technology, thanks to a major grant from the Mellon Foundation.


8:30 PM @ Lillies


*Entrance over 21