Oct. 15, 1998
Vol. 18, No. 2

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    'What happens when Aristotle meets the Byzantine emperor?

    Peruse the work of Andy Warhol, hear the cadences of Sanskrit or debate Shakespeare's politics, all without leaving the University campus. The University's Humanities Division presents the 19th annual Humanities Open House, 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Saturday, October 31.

    This year's Open House will feature more than 45 lectures, symposia, tours and hands-on demonstrations as well as a keynote address that asks the question, "What happens when Aristotle meets the Byzantine emperor?"

    Open House coordinator and graduate student Christopher Perrius said he hopes this event will be interactive between the presenters and the audience.

    "Our goal is to share our work with anyone who wants to come," Perrius said. "All presenters encourage questions and discussions. This is an opportunity for the public to come and talk with people who may be world authorities in their fields," he said. In his keynote address, Robert Nelson, Professor in Art History and the History of Culture, will raise questions about how we communicate with words and through art. His subsequent answer will focus on a Byzantine mosaic in the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

    "Tenth century words and images came together in a very close union, which is quite a bit of difference from the silent art on the walls of our homes and offices," Nelson said. The mosaics were designed to promote dialogue, which Nelson will demonstrate in his address.

    Other festivities include improvisational sets by the University Jazz X-tet, a Baroque concert by the Motet Choir in Bond Chapel and excerpts of the play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, performed by the Court Theatre's cast. Seminar topics range from talking computers to Shakespearean politics.

    Linguist John Goldsmith will demonstrate his software that allows computers to sound more like human beings as well as the first stages of a program that learns the structure of a language without the aid of humans. Sculptor Herbert George will explain Atom, the sculpture by Henry Moore that commemorates the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, and language professors will teach introductory courses in Hebrew and Sanskrit.

    For those with a penchant for literature, David Bevington, an editor and Shakespearean scholar, will show a portion of Ian McKellan's film Richard III and then open the forum for conversation. Participants might also choose to ponder William Shakespeare's political views with Professor Richard Striers or explore works of poetry with Professor Paul Hunter, who is also the editor of the Norton Introduction to Poetry.

    In addition, the Open House will offer guided tours of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, which features works by Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse and Auguste Rodin.

    Participants will be able to choose three presentations. These electives will begin at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. respectively. The keynote address, which will be delivered in Mandel Hall at 1131 E. 57th St., is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

    Registration is not required for the keynote address, but participants must reserve spaces for the presentations. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Presentations will take place throughout campus.

    The public may attend the Humanities Open House free of charge. For more information, visit the Humanities Web site at http://humanities.uchicago.edu/openhouse/ or call (773) 702-4847.