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The History of the Future – Steampunk, Spacesuits, and Beyond

September 8 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

| $10

What are the real life historical origins of steampunk? Why does the science fiction of the Victorian age appeal to us, and what are its roots in the actual discoveries and scientists of that time? How did thinkers in the past view the future and how are today’s thinkers envisioning the future?

Join us for the Empiricist League’s twentieth gathering, featuring presentations about the science of steampunk, past visions of urban futures, and designing outerwear for outer space.

Doors at 7pm. First speaker starts at 7:30pm.

CLOCKWORK FUTURES: The Science of Steampunk

Brandy Schillace, PhD, is a historian, author, and Senior Research Associate for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History (Case Western Reserve University). Brandy’s recent books include DEATH’S SUMMER COAT, exploring cultural approaches to death and dying (2015), and CLOCKWORK FUTURES, a social history of technology and the “steampunk” aesthetics of invention (September 2017). In all her endeavors, Brandy seeks to uncover the human stories at the center of science and medicine, proving truth is frequently stranger than fiction. Brandy will speak to the Empiricist League about her new book and the science of steampunk.

CITIES OF FUTURES PAST: Strange historical visions of the urban future

Wythe Marschall is an anthropologist of technology finishing his PhD in the History of Science Department at Harvard. He writes and teaches about future visions of biotechnology, farming, and cities. Currently, Wythe is researching how agricultural tech startups are trying to disrupt the food economy and change how we think about plants and buildings. Previously, Wythe taught at Harvard and in the English Department at Brooklyn College. He’s also curated art-and-science exhibitions and events about designing living things. Wythe will speak to the Empiricist League about how futurists have imagined utopian cities on Mars, covering the entire planet, and right here in the Five Boroughs.

THE FINAL FRONTIER OF DESIGN: Working with NASA to design the next generation of spacesuit gloves

Ted Southern is a sculptor, costume maker, and inventor from Brooklyn, New York. For the last 4 years, Ted has been developing a new generation of space suit gloves, in coordination with Nikolay Moiseev, a Russian spacesuit fabricator. In November 2009, Ted and Nik outperformed NASA’s current Phase VI spacesuit gloves, and won second place in NASA’s Astronaut Glove Challenge. Prior to space, Ted’s work focused on technical garments for movies, theatre, and television including wings for Victoria’s Secret and costumes for Cirque du Soleil. Ted will speak to the Empiricist League about his work designing garments for use in outer space.


September 8
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Union Hall
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215 United States


Empiricist League