Every summer for the past few years, a professor from the University of Puget Sound and I co-host a lecture series in a barn at Smoke Farm, about an hour north of Seattle. Afterwards, everybody sits down for a big dinner by an accomplished Seattle chef. We call it the Symposium.
Past speakers have included Stranger people (Tim Keck, David Schmader), Stranger Genius Award-winners (Sarah Rudinoff, Marya Sea Kaminski), Black Panthers, MacArthur Genius Award-winners, architects, ecologists, philosophers, journalists, and many others. This year's lineup is below the jump. You can get tickets—just $15, which includes the dinner—here.
This video includes some excerpts from a talk by Dr. Clark Martin at the 2010 Symposium. He is a psychologist with a background in chemistry who, as part of a Johns Hopkins study on depression and cancer, took a very large, non-recreational, researcher-supervised dose of psilocybin. It changed his life in some surprising ways.
(The video, which is the tip of our Symposium archive-iceberg, was filmed and edited by Jason Evans.)
Each year in the late summer, scientists, activists, scholars, artists, journalists, and others gather at Smoke Farm, a picturesque former dairy farm an hour north of Seattle, for its Symposium—a weekend of lectures and conversation, capped off with a lively dinner by an accomplished Seattle chef.
Past speakers have included a MacArthur Genius grantee, members of the Black Panther Party, an architect who designs environmentally sustainable cities for the Chinese government, an astro-biologist who looks for the origins of life in very old rocks, ecologists, actors, graphic designers, research physicians, and many others.
This year is our fourth Symposium. The chef will be Monica Dimas of Monsoon. The speakers will be:
* C.S. Soong, radio producer and journalist for the "Against the Grain" program (with Sasha Lilley) on KPFA: “When Subjects Become Objects and Vice Versa: Reflections on Alienation, Labor, and Human Agency."
* Dr. Tanya Erzan, Katherine Gould Chism scholar at the University of Puget Sound: “Jails for Jesus: Why are U.S. Prisons so Religious?”
* John Zerzan, anarchist theorist: “The End of Community and Life in the Technosphere: Pathologies of Mass Society.”
* Irina Feygina of New York University: “Society vs. Nature: Transforming Climate-Change Denial into Pro-Environmental Action.”
* Zoe Scofield (internationally award-winning dancer and choreographer), Juniper Shuey (artist and designer), and Brendan Kiley (of The Stranger) will have a conversation about the pleasures and pains of being on display.
* This year’s artists in residence will be mapper and artifact-gatherer Scott Schuldt and street/installation artist NKO Rey.
It will be a lively weekend of eating, drinking, and thinking.
Smoke Farm is a 360-acre hub of cultural and educational programming, managed by the Rubicon Foundation, 60 miles north of Seattle. It hosts annual arts festivals (Lo-Fi), culinary festivals (Burning Beast), educational programming (the Fortnight carpentry camp for inner-city high school students), residencies, and much more. The Symposium is hosted by Stuart Smithers and Brendan Kiley and is supported by the Rubicon Foundation and the River Styx Foundation.