Author Archives: admin


On the 6th of March, Burnett presented a public lecture at the University of the Arts in Helsinki, entitled “The Tip of the Finger, and the Moon.” Details here.

In the Spring Semester Burnett will be a visiting artist at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland.  With Daniel Peltz, he will run a studio entitled “The Poetics of Attention.”


On the 1st of February, Burnett hosted filmmaker Courtney Stephens at Princeton, where she screened her experimental documentary film  TERRA FEMME, and performed a live narration.  The event was part of the spring colloquium series in the History of Science, and was jointly sponsored by Visual Arts, Film Studies, and the Program in Gender and Sexuality.

On the 28th of January, Burnett and friends were part of the JAB book fair, a chance to give some tours of the Milcom Memorial Reading Room and Attention Library, part of the Monira Foundation installations at Mana Contemporary, and to present recent work by ESTAR(SER).  Check out this nice recent review of the Milcom Room, and this recent review of ESTAR(SER)’s current exhibition at the Frye Museum, in Seattle.

On 5 January, 2023, in Philadelphia, Burnett chaired a session of the American Historical Association’s annual meeting.  The gathering, entitled “Histories below the Water Line,” examined new themes in oceanic historiography, maritime labor history, and sea-floor politics. Burnett offered a comment on papers by four outstanding young scholars (Lisa Yin Han, Christopher Pastore, Anthony Medrano, and Tamara Fernandez).

On December 12th and 13th, Burnett presented new work at “The Attentive Ear: Sound, Cognition, and Subjectivity, 1800-1930,” a symposium at the Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik in Frankfurt (organized by Carmel Raz and Francesca Brittan).

On 1 December, at 8 pm NY time, Burnett participated in a “Curatorial Conversation” with Amanda Donnan, Chief Curator at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Registration was required.


On November 13th, Burnett spoke at the Friends of Attention “LAB,” part of the closing events for RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE, a Monira Foundation project curated by Katharina Gruzei.

On 10 November, Burnett presented “Turning to the Side: Art, History, Experience” (remotely, and in a translated/pre-recorded video format) as part of the Съседите: форми на травмата (1945-1989), a symposium in Sofia, Bulgaria organized by Julian Chehirian and Lilia Topouzova. Details here.

Burnett sat down with longstanding collaborator Jeff Dolven and the distinguished Michael Wood for a conversation about In Search of the Third Bird (which just got a nice shout-out from Ben Lerner in the Paris Review). The event was hosted by Labyrinth Books on the evening of 9 November, with a livestream available. Details here.


THE THIRD, MEANING, an exhibition at the Frye Museum in Seattle, features new work by the ESTAR(SER) collective, and is an artist-curated project; Burnett and Jo Fiduccia helped pull the show together.  Soft opening on 15 October; official “opening night” is Friday, the 28th. Details here.

On Saturday, the 1st October Burnett presented at Bennington College, as part of the ATTENTION LAB program, which ran most of the day.  RSVP’s were recommended.  More information:

On the 21st of September (4:30 to 6:00 pm), Burnett presented “Histories of Attention,” the lead-off Works in Progress lecture in the Davis Center series at Princeton University for the 2022-2023 academic year. The event was hybrid, and could be attended remotely.  For details:

From August 15 to 21, Burnett and Anna Riley convened “Politics of Attention IV: Radical Pedagogies” at the Eugene O’Neill Center in Connecticut.

From August 8 to 14, Burnett was part of “Wondergraphic Distraction: Choreographies of Centripetal Attention” at the Watermill Center.  The residency was co-hosted with Hermione Spriggs, and there was be a public event on the evening of the 9th.


On the evening of June 23rd, in Paris, Burnett spoke at La Gaîté Lyrique, as part of the NØ-Lab series. The topic? Terraforming. In both the literal and figurative sense.  Also on the program: Marielle Chabal & Grégory Chatonsky. Convened by Yves Citton. Tickets here.

On the 12th of June, Burnett presented at the ICA in London, as part of the CHOREOGRAPHIC DEVICES series, curated by Murat Adash, Ofri Cnaani, and Edgar Schmitz. Tickets were required.  Program and details here.

On the evening of the 10th of June, in Paris, Burnett was part of a short program on conjectural historiography with Alex Balgiu and Justin E.H. Smith at After 8 (7 rue Jarry). Some talk about In Search of the Third Bird was likely!  (And for more on that subject, check out this recent discussion of the book in the JHIBlog).

From 4pm-6pm on June 9th, Burnett presented on new work at Goldsmith’s, in London. Email for details.

On the 8th of June, Burnett spoke about the “Twelve Theses on Attention” at Kings College, London.  More information here.


Later that evening, Burnett did a short presentation at the Warburg Institute, as part of the launch of the Public Domain Review’s beautiful new volume, AFFINITIES, created by Adam Green (Burnett wrote the foreword).  Seating was limited for the event!  Details here.


On the 14th of May, the Monira Foundation opened the exhibition “Twelve Theses on Attention,” at Mana Contemporary’s Spring Open House. The show featured a set of prints and other material related to the new book by the Friends of Attention.  A launch party for the book ran from 1-5pm on the day, as part of the opening.  The show will remain up all summer!


On April 8th and 9th, Burnett spoke at Yale University, as part of the J. Irwin Miller Symposium, OBJECT LESSONS, convened by Anthony Acciavatti.


March 14-18, and again April 18-22, Burnett was part of the ATTENTION LABS, an experiment in radical pedagogy, run by the Friends of Attention, and hosted by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Upper Manhattan.


On February 12th, Burnett hosted Natilee Harren in a discussion of Nam June Paik, the “TV Buddha” series, and the new Milcom Memorial Reading Room at Mana Contemporary. The event was “The View From Everywhere: Meditation, Media, and Surveillance,” sponsored by the Monira Foundation.


In Search of the Third Bird launched in the US on December 14th! Many thanks to all of those who helped make this special book happen!

Burnett has a new podcast that was just released — a conversation with friend and colleague Justin E.H. Smith in his “What is X?” series for The Point magazine. The topic?  What is History? Check it out here.

On Saturday the 20th of November, Burnett presented a paper on “The Archive and the Imagination” at the History of Science Society Meeting — which was supposed to have been in New Orleans (pre hurricane Ida; pre Delta strain), but was, in the end, online. The session, co-orgaized with Anya Yermakova, was on the senses in archival practice. Details here.


On November 1st, Burnett was part of SCIENCE AND THE MOVING IMAGE: Histories of Intermediality” — a conference organized by Anin Luo, Max Long, and Miles Kempton.  Check out the program here.


On Saturday night, the 9th of October, at 8:30 pm NY time, Burnett hosted the first of a new Monira Foundation series entitled “Scenes of Attention.”  The launch program was “Kiss My Wing!” with special guest, the Tokyo-based surrealist-scholar of the surreal, CATHERINE HANSEN. You had to RSVP to get the Zoom.


From August 23rd to August 30th. Burnett participated in “On Traps and Tracking,” a workshop/residency organized by Adam Jasper (ETH, Zurich) and Hermione Spriggs (UCL, London). This project, on attention and aesthetic experience at the borderlands of nature/culture, took place at the Cima Città in Ticino.

Burnett was part of the summer workshop/residency The Politics of Attention III: What Cannot be Bought (or Sold) at the Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, CT, August 9-15, 2021 — part of the ongoing work of the Friends of Attention (who recently got a nice writeup here; also check out the latest publication by the collective, in the current issue of October).


Burnett was up at Mildred’s Lane on August 5th, to participate in an attention workshop that is part of “The Year of Landscape / Democracy / Wellness.”

Curious about the work of the research collective ESTAR(SER)? In this podcast put together by the Glasgow International, Burnett and Sal Randolph discuss their collaborations (and their collaborators) in this longstanding project, where archival poetics meets the history of attention. The big ESTAR(SER) book will be out in the UK in November of 2021. And the following year, the collective will do a major exhibition at the Frye Museum in Seattle.

Click here for a podcast about the work of the Friends of Attention (Stevie Knauss and Burnett in conversation about the Twelve Theses on Attention) — part of the “Encounters” series for the Glasgow International.


In June, Burnett presented at Kings College, London, in a symposium entitled “Attention in the Digital World.” The other speakers were Loraine Daston and Michael Posner. Burnett’s talk, “Utopic Attention: The Currency in a Kingdom of Ends,” is up on Vimeo; hit the link to check it out.


The Covid-delayed GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL was in June.  The theme: Attention.  Burnett was involved in three programmed events.  He chaired the screening & discussion of the Twelve Theses on Attention film on June 11th at 2pm NY time.  The following day, same time, he was  part of a panel discussion on “Vigils and Vigilance: Attention, Duration, Subjectivity,” co-sponsored with the CCA.  Finally, on the 26th of June, he introduced “The Dance of Attention,” a performance lecture by the research collective ESTAR(SER).  Details at the links!

Burnett was in discussion with artist Lex Brown on Saturday, May 8th, at 6 pm; part of the Monira Foundation “Attention Series.”  Zoom RSVP was here.


On the 4th of May, at 2 pm, Burnett gave a keynote presentation at Columbia University, “RAPTURES OF THE DEEP: Historiography, Metafiction, Immersion” Details were available by emailing Jerónimo Duarte-Riascos.

On the 22nd of April, Burnett presented “Histories of Attention (And Our Present)” the Bar Hillel Colloquium in the History of Science at Tel Aviv University.


Burnett gave a keynote presentation, “Hallucination in Reverse: Archives, Attention, History, Image,” at Harvard’s Critical Media Practices Spring Critiques (April 8th & 9th). More details here.

Logic and the body? Anya Yermakova presented new sound work at the Monira Foundation / Friends of Attention Second Saturday on April 10th at 6pm. More info here.


In March of 2021 Burnett and Justin E.H. Smith co-hosted the Princeton History of Science Workshop. The theme was ATTENTION.  Click over to the website for more information.

Burnett hosted “PULLING PUNCHES: Attention, Labor, Capital” on the 13th of March at 6 pm. A Friends of Attention event — and YES there was a screening!  Registration was required.

Burnett is working with Posttraumatic Lab on an archival “drift-reader” called PAN. The idea is to animate the “poetics of history.” Check out this piece by Jon Garaffa on the beta version.

On the 13th of February, the ATTENTION SERIES “Second Saturdays” continued, with a director’s screening of the 2019 film short “Other Bodies.” Details (and RSVP) here.


On Saturday, the 9th of January 2021, at 6 pm EST, Burnett hosted LISTENING OUT, an online performance that was part of the Monira Foundation Attention Series. RSVP was required.


Burnett was joined by filmmaker Lane Stroud for a Zoom discussion of the “Cinema of Attention,” Saturday the 12th of December at 6 pm EST.  RSVP was required.

On 14 November Burnett hosted an online program on “The Freedom of Attention” for the Monira Foundation. Details here.


On 12 November, at 4:30 pm (via Zoom) Burnett presented new work at the Modern America Workshop at Princeton.  The paper, “Vigils and Vigilance: Time, Attention, and Action, 1945-1975,” was available for precirculation, and registration was required (both to receive it, and to join the session).

A new “Conjectures” piece is now up on Public Domain Review.  It is a beauty, and came out of the pandemic thinking of a set of students in “Eating, Growing, Catching Knowing,” the experimental food-studies class Burnett did at Princeton in the Spring of 2020.  Living through the “Remote Revolution”? Read about its future history here.

On the 28th of August, Burnett  presented (virtually) as part of ACHS2020: Futures, hosted by UCL in the UK.


On August 14th and 15th, Burnett co-hosted “Politics of Attention II: Self and Other in a Shared World.” More information here.


Since the start of the lockdown, Burnett has been hosting a series of online “Gatherings” of the so-called  “Friends of Attention.” Email for more information:


Burnett and collaborators in ESTAR(SER) will be part of the CADAF art fair, June 25-28.  Click here for more information.


Burnett and several collaborators from the “Friends of Attention” recently published this “Roundtable on COVID-19 and the Attention Economy” in the Los Angeles Review of Books (BLARB).


Check out this rough cut of the film shorts made as part of a visual workshop on the Twelve Theses on Attention. Curated by Lane Stroud and Alyssa Loh, and featuring super-talented young filmmakers like Izik AlequinTerrance DayeMasami Kubo, and Claudia Claremi.


On Wednesday the 27th of May, at 3pm EST, Burnett was part of an online program and panel discussion on the research collective ESTAR(SER). The event was hosted by Mana Contemporary, and is part of their “Collective Work” Series. Registration was here.


Like much else, the 2020 GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL did not happen this year. With luck, “VIGILS AND VIGILANCE: Attention, Duration, Subjectivity” will take place in a GI-redux in 2021. Peace and hope.


On Saturday the 15th of February, Burnett presented at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, as part of “My Little Planet,” a screening and performance by the artist Agnieszka Polska.

On Saturday evening the 1st of February, Burnett and some friends did a quick blast on behalf of the future of human attention as part of “FOOLISHLY USE THE FORCE AND RIDE THE CHARIOT” at Cloud City in Williamsburg.  Doors opened at 7pm. Technically you were supposed to be on the list to get in, b/c the event was private, so emails were requested in advance:


In early January Burnett was in South America for ten days, doing a set of lectures on Darwin and the history of the marine sciences aboard the National Geographic Endeavor II in the Galapagos Islands. (Doesn’t that look like an immature Brydes whale skeleton there? Above the high tide line on the northeast coast of Fernandina Island).


On Saturday, the 14th of December, Burnett was part of “Serve it Forth,” a workshop on taste and attention at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. More information here.


On Friday, November 15th, Burnett participated in a workshop at Wesleyan University entitled “From the Museum to the Classroom: Attentional Practices and the Future of Pedagogy in the Humanities.”

On Friday the 1st of November, at 6:30 pm, Burnett, Hermione Spriggs, and Adam Jasper ran a workshop entitled “Sanctuary and Resistance in the Attentional Economy” at Arts Catalyst, in London.  More information here.


On 5 October Burnett was part of the TIME OF NOW performance program at MASS MoCA.  Together with visiting associates of ESTAR(SER), Burnett presented from “The Sprague Sheaf.” Details here.


On 15 September, Burnett presented new collaborative work as part of the Fall Open House at Mana Contemporary.  More information here.

On 5 September, Burnett presented as part of “El Halo del Cuidar,” a performance lecture at the Reina Sofia in Madrid.


Burnett co-hosted a summer session workshop at Mildred’s Lane, August 19-25.  The theme was “The Politics of Attention: Art, Time, Technology, Action.” For more information:

On the evening of 6 August, at the old Yippie headquarters on 9 Bleaker (now the Overthrow Club), Burnett presented on “Practices of Attention” as part of the 2019 summer session of the University of the Underground.

Burnett and several collaborators did a short-term residency at MASS MoCA August 1-3; this is part of a new ESTAR(SER) commission.


For a week in early July, Burnett and some friends (including Jo Fiduccia and Hermione Spriggs) were in residence at Le Confort Moderne in Poitiers. There were some public events — more info here.

On the 28th of April, Burnett presented a new collaborative project with Jessica Palinski (Whitney Museum) entitled “The Bird Bookmarks” at the Mana Contemporary Spring Open House.

Burnett spoke on a panel entitled “The Creation of Historical Effects” at the Festschrift conference in honor of Jed Buchwald, April 26th – 28th at Caltech. A link to his talk here.


On April 10th, Burnett hosted a screening of 10 short films on attention, the work of students in his “The Attention Economy: Historical Perspectives” course. The event took place in the Jimmy Stewart Theater at Princeton University.

On Thursday March 14th, Burnett gave a talk entitled “The Empty Bowl of Attention: Art and Intersubjectivity” at the Village Zendo a Zen temple in New York City. The event was part of the Urban Sesshin hosted by Sal Gesso Randolph on the occasion of her Shusho Hossen. Dharma Combat followed on March 17th…


Burnett did Bootlegs as part of Marisa Jahn’s “Bootlegs and Rubbings” installation at the Spring Break Art Show; it was on Saturday the 9th.


On the evening of March 4, Burnett did a brief post-screening conversation at the Garden Theater. Topics? Oceans, fish, labor, the senses, ethnography…


The Turkish edition of KEYWORDS is just out, with a new introduction. Many thanks to Erkal Ünal and everyone else who helped pull this together.


Burnett contributed the final segment to the recent Backstory podcast on the history of solitude. Check it out here.


On the 7th and 8th of March, Burnett was part of an ESTAR(SER) project at RISD, as part of Daniel Peltz’s “Performing the Lecture” studio. Details here.

On 8 February, Burnett participated in this year’s Princeton Workshop in the History of Science: Trading Objecthood.


On 15 December Burnett did a reading with Dani Lessnau at The Storefront for Somatic Practice in Cambridge.  For more information:

On November 29 & 30, in New York City, Burnett presented as part of the Floating Laboratory of Action and Theory at Sea.


November 14-18, Burnett co-curated a symposium on “Attentional Practices” as part of the 33rd Sāo Paulo Biennial. Click here for a program. Burnett’s own talk at the event is linked below.



Oh the 14th of October, Burnett was part of the opening of “The Milcom Memorial Reading Room” installation at Mana Contemporary. Details here.


From the 6th to the 12th of August, Burnett was back at Mildred’s Lane, for THE YEAR OF TIN AND CHINA.


On the 18th of July, Burnett was part of a panel discussion at BRIC, in Brooklyn. The event was part of the programming for the exhibition Alchemy, curated by Jenny and Elizabeth Ferrer.

On June 20th and 21st, Burnett visited the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Studies at Harvard University.  He did a public lecture (“Reading, Looking, Making: Experiments in Sustained Eludication”) on Wednesday afternoon, and led a workshop on Thursday. More information, please contact Elizabeth Phillips:


On 2 June, Burnett led a panel discussion program at Mana Contemporary. The event was part of Please Touch: Body Boundaries, the current show, which runs through 1 August, 2018.


On May 19th and 20th, Burnett participated in the Ateliers de Politique Terriennes organized by Bruno Latour and SPEAP at the Amandiers Theater in Nanterre — part of the MONDES POSSIBLES Festival, marking the 50th anniversary of May of 1968 in Paris.

On May 13th, Burnett did a workshop in Poitiers, France; as part of a short residency at Le Confort Moderne.  The event was co-hosted by La Musée Sainte-Croix, and the extraordinary Baptistère Saint-Jean. More information here.


Burnett was part of Prelude to the Shed, which took place across the first two weeks of May.  He and Jeff Dolven and Asad Raza did a new version of their “Schema for a School” project.  Click here for more about the Shed, and click here for a link to a write up on “Schema” in the Berlin-based journal SPIKE.

KEYWORDS is going into a reprint.  Check out this really nice review in The New Yorker.

On Wednesday the 25th of April Burnett was part of a release event at Labyrinth Books for Asad Raza’s Home Show catalog. Burnett has an essay in the volume, and Yara Flores had work in the show itself.

On the 16th of April, Burnett spoke (with Joanna Fiduccia) on “The Aesthetics of Immateriality” at the Princeton School of Architecture. More information here.

Burnett presented work at the “Living at the Intersection” symposium at Princeton on the 12th and 13th of April. The session was on “Form Beyond Function.”

On Friday, the 6th of April, Burnett did a lunchtime talk at the New York Institute for the Humanities — the topic was “Lexicons, Dictionaries, and Critical Vocabularies,” and he talked about the KEYWORDS book.  For more information, email:


Burnett was in Paris at the end of March, doing a workshop at SPEAP on Thursday the 29th.

Burnett was in Mexico in early March, doing several lectures on cetaceans and sea conservation in Baja. He gave a pair of talks at the San Ignacio Lagoon, aboard the National Geographic vessel Sea Bird.

On Tuesday the 27th of February, Burnett visited DIAP (the Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice MFA) at City College, in NYC, to talk about performative practices and the traditions of the essay. The session was organized by João Enxuto & Erica Love.

On Saturday, the 17th of February, The New Museum Triennial hosted a symposium on the sea, sea life, art, and activism. The event was organized by Margarida Mendes, and linked to the collaborative platform Inhabitants. Burnett presented around 3:30.

The Website for the Keywords book is now live. Check it out.  And the book was just excerpted on the Paris Review site. Plus Inside Higher Ed just ran this interview with the editors.

On 14 December Burnett was part of NEXT GENERATION: MUSEUMS, a symposium at the Center for the Humanities at CUNY, in NYC. The event got a writeup in Hyperallergic.


Yara Flores has work in the group show RETROACTIVE at Raygun Projects, which runs until the 23rd of December.


Burnett has a new (co-authored, co-edited) book coming out — KEYWORDS;…Relevant to Academic Life, &c. There was a soft launch for the project as part of the IHUM Open House on Tuesday, December 5th, at Prospect House. The Open House started at 5:30, and the book party ran 6:30-8:00.

Burnett was in Japan for the week of November 20-27. He worked with collaborators from ESTAR(SER) on a residency at Fenberger House, and on Friday the 24th was part of an artist talk at Arts Initiative Tokyo.  More details here.


This summer, Burnett was back at Mildred’s Lane with a host of beloved conspirators. The theme: “The Transhistorical.”  Details here.

On Monday, June 5th, Burnett was in conversation with Mark Dion at the Explorer’s Club in Manhattan. The event, a discussion about the oceans, contemporary art, and the history of science, was part of “A Contemporary Exploration,” a two-day symposium and installation by TBA21 Academy in conjunction with the United Nations Ocean Conference and World Oceans Day.

On the 4th of June, Burnett was be part of “14 Person Poem” at the Whitney Museum. The performance was held in the 2017 Biennial installation Root sequence. Mother tongue as one of Asad Raza’s “Weekend Guest” events.


On the 11th of May, at Princeton, from 11:30 am to 1 pm, Burnett participated in a pop-up exhibition and book release for A University of Things.  The event was part of Princeton University’s “Research Day” open house.  More information here.


On the 29th and 30th of April, Burnett co-hosted What History Could Have Been III at the New School. For more about “conjectural historiography,” check out this write-up on WHCHB II.


Radio-controlled sharks in the Cold War? Burnett did a spot on Canadian TV’s morning show on Thursday, April 27th about the use of animals in military conflicts. The anchor said that the military use of animals was “SO COOL!” Burnett felt a combination of rage and despair (see above), but tried to be pleasant.

On the 7th of April Burnett presented with Jennifer Wenzel and Daniel Barber at BookCulture in Manhattan to celebrate the release of Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment, released in January by Fordham University Press.

On the 19th of March, Burnett presented as part of an introduction to the work of ESTAR(SER) at the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City. The event recovered some of the forgotten work of Walter “Lightning Bug” Rhodes.

On the 14th of March, Burnett and Amale Andraos will be speaking at the Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and the University of Toronto. THIS EVENT CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE SNOW STORM

On the 18th of February, Burnett presented at the CAA meeting in NYC. He was part of the session entitled “Economimesis: Art, Architecture, and the Limits of Economy,” organized by Caroline Jones and Philip Ursprung.

A transcript of Burnett talking about Dithering Machines in Beirut in 2014 is just out in Art Margins, part of a summary of the conference on critical art writing held at the AUB.


Check out the new Cabinet — and Burnett’s piece on the history of skywriting.

On the 25th of January at noon, Burnett spoke at Columbia University, as part of the History in Action project. The panel discussion (billed as “How to be Interesting“) included a number of historically oriented writers and editors, including Keith Gessen and Kim Phillips-Fein.

From December 18th to the 23rd, Burnett did a workshop/collaboration at La Triennale di Milano. The project was linked to Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s exhibition, “Maybe Metafisica.”


Burnett was part of the TBA21 Program at the Kochi Biennial this year.  He presented a talk entitled “Water Machines” with Anthony Acciavatti on 15 December.


On 3 December Burnett was part of Dispersed Holdings’ evening of “Spectacular Readings” — Burnett and Dolven served as mediums for a discussion between two books: Paradise Lost and Moby-Dick.


On 2 December Yara Flores’ solo show Greebles opened at Raygun. More here.


Yara Flores had work in “Fifteen People Present Their Favorite Book (after Kosuth),” open from 26 October – 11 November at Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The new Conjectures piece is up — a work of unadulterated genius by John Tresch. Definitely read this piece!

On Saturday, the 19th of November, Burnett did a one-day “reading” residency at Dispersed Holdings, on the Bowery.

On the 21st of October Burnett presented at “Aesthetics and the Life Sciences” at Rutgers University.

On Saturday the 15th of October, Burnett participated in the symposium “Water and the Making of Place in North America.”

On the 8th of October Burnett was part of “The Nachtigall Plot” at e-flux. This lecture/performance concluded Interpretations: Destabilizing Ground(s)

Pulling Imaginary Teeth was presented at “REPETITION/S” the Performance Philosophy gathering in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the weekend of 24 September.


On September 10th, Burnett was part of the 2016 “Joint Symposium” at the Museum of Jurassic Technology — more information here.

And, more generally for those with an appetite for experimental historical forms, two bits of news:  First, CONJECTURES launched recently — a new series of long-form exercises in “conjectural historiography” hosted by Adam Green and the brilliant, beautiful folks at Public Domain Review (Burnett was on board as series editor, and the first piece ties in to the MJT event above); Second, Public Seminar ran an interesting essay by Matthew Strother on the “What History Could Have Been” event at the New School earlier this year. Definitely worth checking out his piece.

Burnett talked about libraries of ancient ice at Machine Project in LA on the 7th of September. The presentation comes out of this piece in the recent issue of Cabinet.

On Sunday, September 4th, Burnett was part of a session at the 2016 meeting of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present in Tartu, Estonia. The presentation is entitled “Competencies: From Habitus to Hyperstition.” Click here for more information.

In the last week of August Burnett was in residence at the Villa Empain in Brussels, for a reunion of folks who worked on the “Schema for a School” project at the Ljubljana Biennial last year.


The return of Inyard Kip Ketchem! On August 20th Burnett (and friends) presented The Ketchem Screen — a joint-venture performance hosted by the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, part of this year’s MANIFESTA.

Burnett did a teaching residency at Mildred’s Lane again this year.  The theme was Attention, and ran from July 18-24. More information here.

In early June, Burnett was part of the week-long seminar “Archéologie des Media, Écologies de L’Attention” at the Centre Culturel de Cerisy, outside of Paris.


On Thursday, May 5th, Burnett, Chiara Cappelletto, and David Levine presented on collaborative work at the “New Schools” symposium at Princeton.  Details here.


On the 28th of April, at the Princeton Art Museum, Burnett participated in “Pulling Imaginary Teeth” — the culminating project of HUM 598, “The Enacted Thought.”

On March 26th, Burnett hosted David Levine’s “The Best New Work” at the Princeton Art Museum. The performance, which featured Laura Beckner, was linked to “The Enacted Thought,” Burnett’s IHUM seminar this term.

On March 18th, in the context of reports about the Russian military looking to buy five dolphins for its marine mammal program, Burnett talked with Laura Lynch on CBC Radio One about the history of navy dolphins. Links from here.

On March 12, Burnett and several collaborators presented work at the Asian Arts Theater in Gwangju, South Korea; the event was part of the “Transgression and Syncretism” program, curated by the Berlin-based media artist You Mi.

On Monday the 29th of February, Burnett spoke at “Hope in an Era of Extinction” at Princeton University—part of the Multispecies Salon hosted by S. Eben Kirksey.


At the end of February, Burnett and Dominic Pettman hosted “What History Could Have Been II” at the New School in New York City. More info here.

From February 4-7, Burnett and Kasia Katarzyna participated in the Chateau Kinsky Workshop of the Prague Quadrennial.

On 28-29 January, 2016, Burnett presented at SALT in Istanbul. And on the 30th, Burnett and several collaborators did a workshop at BAS, also in Istanbul.



Yara Flores has new work in “The Home Show,” a group exhibition curated by Asad Raza.


The new issue of Cabinet is out!  The theme is CATASTROPHE.  Read Burnett on the Cat Bond here.

On 3 December, Burnett and several collaborator-friends presented the 2015 Leventritt Lecture at the Harvard Art Museum. Details here.

On the 21st of November, Burnett was part of a performance lecture and workshop at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. More details here.

On 14 November Burnett moderated a session of Eyal Weizman and Eduardo Cadava’s “Conflict Shorelines” Conference at Princeton.


The Whitney Museum did their Moby-Dick Marathon this year in conjunction with the new Frank Stella retrospective (featuring a number of pieces from the “Moby-Dick” Series — like this one here, “Loomings” of 1986).  Burnett read at 7pm on Friday the 13th.

On 7 November (at 2 pm) Burnett presented new work by Yara Flores at Rönnells Antikvariat in Stockholm — part of the release of Peder Alexis Olsson’s new Drucksache project, TENNIS.

And the same evening Burnett and Joanna Fiduccia were at Stefanie Hessler & Carsten Höller’s Andquestionmark, where the topic was be L’Amour Fou and surrealist social practice: “The Kittiwake Dossier: Flocking, Flight, and Failure in Interwar Paris.”

On 6 November Burnett and Joanna Fiduccia presented “Temporary Metempsychosis May Occur” (a performance lecture and workshop) at the PARSE Biennial Conference on artistic research.

On September 25th and 26th Burnett spoke at “Democracy and the Humanities” — a symposium hosted by Loyola University in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



On September 18th, Burnett, Simon Critchley, Dominic Pettman, Matt Freedman, and Carlin Wing presented “I am a Ball” — a roundtable experiment in object oriented ventriloquy — at the Cabinet Space in Gowanus. The evening springs from this essay in the “Sport” issue.


From August 22nd to August 30th Burnett and a group of wonderful friends and collaborators (including Jeff Dolven and Asad Raza) installed the Tivoli Park Project for the opening of the 31st Ljubljana Biennial.

On August 5 and 6, Burnett was at the Library of Congress, participating in the Blumberg Dialogs on Astrobiology at the Kluge Center. He presented as a representative of the SPEM community.


Burnett contributed to “MET-HIM-PIKE-HOSES,” an evening with ESTAR(SER), at Mildred’s Lane on 25 July. This Social Saturday was part of The Year of Wit and Wot — the 2015 summer sessions at Mildred’s Lane. Click here for more information.

On 11 July, Burnett presented as part of “Art of Attention,” a performance, lecture, and workshop at the Barnes Foundation.

Burnett was in Buenos Aires for ArteBA.  He and Gabriel Pérez-Barierro presented a performance lecture entitled “El Documento de Pomagello: Aldous Huxley y la metempsicosis de los Pájaros” on 5 June, 2015, at the Departamento de Arte, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.



On 21 May, Burnett hosted a symposium on “Conjectural Historiography” at Princeton — an opportunity to dream paths not taken in the philosophy of history. Registration was not required; details on the poster above.


Burnett was in Australia in May, installing a new show, and collaborating on a performance at the Institute for Modern Art in Brisbane.  Details here, and a slideshow of the installation here.

On the evening of 11 May, Burnett was part of SPECULATION — the New Museum’s R&D Session for the Spring of 2015.  Details on the seminar here.  For more information, contact:

On the 24th and 25th of April, Burnett participated in the “Writing Fieldwork” Conference at Princeton University. He prepared this report on the problems of writing and (significantly) not writing the field.

On the 24th of April, Burnett was part of “The Narma Tapes: Polyphony and Politics in the Postwar” at Art in General.  Registration was required for the event, which started at 12:30.  More information here.

On the 22nd of April, Burnett was in conversation with Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation) about COSMO (MoMA/PS1, summer 2015).  The event was hosted at Princeton.  Click here for details.


On the 20th and 21st of April, members of the research consortium ESTAR(SER) gave a performance lecture and workshop in Beirut on “Philistine Aesthetics.” The project came out of a week-long seminar/residency in East Jerusalem last December in which Burnett participated; he contributed work to the Beirut project.


In issue 54 of Cabinet Burnett has an essay on the history of Lucite — and the strange object known as a “Deal Toy” (the monopoly pieces that circulate in the great game of global finance).  The piece has been picked up by the business press.  See a short video here from The Deal.


On April 16th Burnett and Ben Thorpe Brown hosted a pop-up exhibition and screening at the Cabinet space in Brooklyn — the topic? Plastic.  And Money.  More here.  And here: a write up of the event in The Street.


On March 31 Burnett spoke on environmental history in Los Angeles, as part of the “Empires and Environments” series at Pomona College. More here.

On March 27th, Burnett was part of a panel discussion on artists’ activations of archives and archival materials.  The event was hosted by the Center for Book Arts in Chelsea, and was part of a series entitled “Repositioning the Archive.” More here.

On the 13th of March, the research consortium known as ESTAR(SER) presented the keynote performance-project at the “Hybrid Practices Symposium” hosted by the Spencer Museum of Art (sponsored by the Terra Foundation and the Arts Research Collaboration). The four days of the conference were dedicated to “Art, Science, and Technology since 1960.”  Burnett contributed to the keynote as a member of the ESTAR(SER) Editorial Committee, and also participated in the workshop on the morning of the 14th. More information here.



On the 20th of February, Burnett was part of a performance lecture by the research consortium known as ESTAR(SER) at the Pomona Art Museum. The event was free and open to the public but the workshop on Saturday required registration. More information here.


Burnett led a Q&A following the West Coast premiere of “The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins”, a BBC documentary by Chris Riley. The screening took place on January 22, 2015, at The Omni (4079 Shattuck Ave., Oakland, CA) at 7pm. More details here.

The Brazilian journal of history Temporalidades just published an interview with Burnett on the history and philosophy of science.  It is accessible here (in Portuguese).

The online journal of experimental history, The Appendix, just published “The Nebulous and the Infinitesimal,” a game of TTT (Thought-Thing Tag) between Burnett and the Architectural theorist David Gissen. Do we immolate objects into the sweet smoke of their meanings?



Last December, from the 16th to the 24th, Burnett was in residence at the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art.

On November 22nd Burnett participated in “The Instruments Project” symposium at Princeton’s School of Architecture, hosted by Lucia Allais.


Members of the Editorial Committee of ESTAR(SER) presented a lecture and workshop on “Object-Oriented Ventriloquy” at the RISD Museum on November 6 and 7.  The events were part of the “It, me, you, us” series, a joint initiative of the Brown University Center for Public Humanities, the Art Museum, and the Program in History Art and Visual Culture at RISD.


The disruptive attentional collective known as “Project 404” convened this Saturday, October 25th, at Threes in Brooklyn.  Details on the graphic above — or email to:

On Friday the 10th of October, Burnett presented on “The Marking of Time and Space” with Eric Ellingsen at Cornell’s School of Architecture Art and Planning; the session was part of Studio 4101/4102/5101.

On the evening of 8 October Burnett hosted a screening, at the Cabinet Space in Brooklyn, of Chris Riley’s new BBC documentary, “The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins.” Hailed by critics as an “exquisite,” “intelligent,” and “moving,” this film is based on chapter 6 of Burnett’s The Sounding of the Whale. A discussion will follow.

On September 10th Burnett did a presentation in “Radical Materialism: Making the World Matter” at the CUNY Graduate Center. The Symposium was linked to the exhibition “World of Matter” at the James Gallery.


From August 22-31 Burnett was in Istanbul for “Niblach III: The Unrepresented”, part of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation’s program of cultural initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East. More here.

Burnett’s work is featured in the new RadioLab show on dolphins.  Check out the podcast here.

Burnett was a 2013-2014 Guggenheim Fellow, working on aesthetics. For the full announcement, see here.


Burnett has a piece in issue 52 of Cabinet (on “celebration”) — an essay on the history of Confetti.



On 12 July, Burnett and friends gave a performance-lecture entitled “If These Stones Could Speak: The Hale Transcripts and Cold War Tactical Prosopopetics,” part of the Social Saturday series at the Mildred’s Lane Complexity, in Beach Lake, PA.


Burnett and friends were part of “The Year of the Unearthing” — the 2014 Sessions at Mildred’s Lane. Details and dates here.


‘The Blossom’ transformed

On 25 June Burnett and the inimitable Jeff Dolven teamed up for another night of skew poetical resurrectionism. The dead poet of the night? William Blake. The mission? To unravel (and re-ravel) the Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Razor blades were deployed in studied silence by all.

On 20 June, Burnett and Justin Erik Halldór Smith presented together on “Souci de Soi parmi les Oiseaux” at the “Futur en Seine” festival in Paris. The talk was held at the Centre Pompidou, as part of “L”écologie de l’attention,” hosted by Bernard Stiegler and Igor Galligo.

Burnett was selected as one of the “38th Voyagers” in the relaunching of the Charles W. Morgan this summer. More on his project here.

On June 4th, Burnett was part of “When Experience Becomes Form” — a series of actions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.



Chris Riley’s BBC documentary, “The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins,” just premiered at the Sheffield Film Festival. The film is grounded in Chapter 6 of Burnett’s Sounding of the Whale. Click here for the Guardian‘s review, and here for a look at the film itself.

On 28 May, Burnett and the artist Sibel Horada hosted the second Niblach workshop on practical noumenatics, art theft, and cultural property at the Emily Harvey Foundation in New York City. For more information, email:

On 22 May, Burnett and friends ran an in-house workshop at the Guggenheim Museum on “The Grammar of Protocols.”  The session was lead-up for “When Experience Becomes Form” on June 4.

On May 16th Burnett presented at “Urban Nature: Between Human and Nonhuman,” a day-long conference sponsored by the ETH Zurich and Columbia GSAPP. The event was held at the Center for Architecture, on Laguardia Place, just south of Washington Square.

On the 24th of April, Burnett presented (with Sal Randolph) on Aldous Huxley’s Art of Seeing at the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The event was for museum staff and personnel.


On Saturday, April 19th, Burnett gave a seminar/workshop entitled “Absence and Access: Silent Presence as a Form of Action” in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp (West Bank).  The event was organized by Campus in Camps.

On April 17th Burnett did a visiting lecture entitled “Art and Inquiry” in Ramallah, at the International Academy of Art, Palestine.

From April 11-16, Burnett was in Istanbul. He participated in a Niblach workshop on practical noumenatics, art theft, and cultural property. For more information, email:

On April 6, Burnett joined a number of colleagues and friends as part of the “Bright Intervals” program at MoMA PS1. A performance lecture, “The Rülek Scrolls and the Practice of the Door,” began at 2 pm in the VW Dome, followed by a workshop on attentional practices. Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel and Jenny Schlenzka.


The Refusal of Time

On the 3rd of April, Burnett hosted a conversation with William Kentridge in the Science and Society series at the City of College of New York. Discussion followed a screening of “Anti-Mercator” and expanded across “The Refusal of Time,” on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the full event announcement here.


From March 10th to March 16th, Burnett gave a series of workshops and lectures in conjunction with the opening of “The Work of Art Under Conditions of Intermittent Accessibility” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. More information here. The exhibition/installation will be up through the end of March.


On the 8th of March, Burnett presented a talk entitled “Dithering Machines and Critical Inquiry” at the Critical Machines conference at the American University of Beirut. See the full program here and a review of the event here.


On the 7th of February, Burnett chaired the mapping session of the Aesthetics of Information symposium at Princeton University, this year’s IHUM workshop.

And in the connection with the symposium, Burnett teamed up with Yara Flores to present “Pound vs. Stevens: The Rematch,” an installation in the pop-up exhibition that accompanied the conference. See more herehere, and here.


From the 13th to the 18th of January, Burnett was in residence at the Chalet Society in Paris. See the announcement for the performance-lecture with which the week culminated here.


The new issue of Cabinet is out — the theme is … Wheels. Read Burnett’s piece on spinners here.


About D. Graham Burnett

D. Graham Burnett works at the intersection of historical inquiry and artistic practice. Based in New York, and associated with the Friends of Attention, he is interested in experimental/experiential approaches to textual material, pedagogical modes, and hermeneutic activities traditionally associated with the research humanities. Recent (collaborative) performances and exhibitions include: “The Milcom Memorial Reading Room and Attention Library” (The Monira Foundation / Mana Contemporary); “Practices of Attention” (33rd São Paulo Biennial); “The Work of Art Under Conditions of Intermittent Accessibility” (Palais de Tokyo, Paris); “The Trochilus Exercise” (Asian Arts Theater, Gwangju, South Korea); “The Boğaziçi Rolls” (SALT-Galata, Istanbul); “The Ketchem Screen” (Manifesta 11, Zurich); and “Schema for a School” (Prelude to the Shed, 2018, NYC; 2015 Ljubljana Biennial). Several of these projects emerged in association with the speculative historiographical collective known as ESTAR(SER). Burnett trained in History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, and currently teaches at Princeton University. He runs the “Conjectures” series for the Public Domain Review, and is an editor at the Brooklyn/Berlin-based Cabinet magazine; he is the author of a number of books and (many) essays. More


Eating, Growing, Catching, Knowing: Historical Perspectives on Food, Science, and the Environment; HIS 497
Spring 2020

The Poetics of History; HIS/HOS 596 / ENG 592
Spring 2019

The Attention Economy: Historical Perspectives; HIS490
Fall 2018

The Enacted Thought; HUM/IHUM 598
Spring 2016

Experience; HUM599
Spring 2015

Things: Approaches to Material Culture; HIS/HOS 499
Spring 2015

Bibliography of Attention: Master Readings List
Syllabus I
Syllabus II

Spring 2013

Art, Science, Technology: Historical Perspectives; HOS 599
Spring 2011

The Art of Deception: Aesthetics at the Perimeter of Truth; HUM 598
Spring 2011

Science in a Global Context: From the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century; HOS/HIS 293
Spring 2009

Critique and Its Discontents; HUM 599, with Jeff Dolven
Autumn 2011
Autumn 2008

Science and Religion: Historical Approaches; HOS/HIS 493
Spring 2008

Science from Enlightenment to the Present: Science, Technology, and Social Order; HOS/HIS 593
Autumn 2006

Humans and Animals: Boundaries and Bonds, Science and Sites; HOS/HIS 596
Spring 2005

Science Across the Seas: Ships, Islands, and Knowledge; HOS/HIS 599
Autumn 2002

Terra Incognita: Maps, Explorers and Encounters 1595-1900
Fall 1998

Origins: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Darwin and His Ideas
Spring 1997

Course Flyers

Click on fliers for more information.










Burnett and Jeff Dolven co-teach a seminar entitled “Critique and Its Discontents,” a gateway course for Princeton’s new Interdisciplinary PhD Humanities Program (IHUM).


In Spring 2011, Burnett taught a seminar entitled “The Art of Deception: Aesthetics and the Perimeter of Truth”.


An early course flyer for “Critique and Its Discontents,” co-taught by Burnett and Jeff Dolven.


Teaching overview

Professor Burnett regularly teaches the undergraduate lecture course “Science in a Global Context,” which traces developments in science and technology since 1400 with an emphasis on the place of scientific knowledge in the history of cross-cultural exchange, colonial expansion, and modern imperialism. (He co-hosted the 2002-03 Princeton Workshops in the History of Science, “Science Across the Seas: Global Science and Comparative History”). He has also taught seminars on the history of oceanography and on the history of the field sciences. In 2005 he led “Humans and Animals,” a graduate seminar that examines the role of the life sciences in changing conceptions of human-animal relationships and the human-animal boundary in the modern period, and in 2007 he taught a graduate seminar on the relationship between the history of science and political theory, “Science Technology and Social Order,” and he has also developed a course on the historical relationship between science and religion. Recent graduate teaching includes the introductory seminar on historiography and historical method, and several seminars in the Humanities Council on art and critical theory. In more recent years Burnett’s graduate teaching has focused on questions of science, technology, critical theory, and art, and he has become a regular contributor to the seminars offered under the auspices of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM). The Department of History and the Program in History of Science, Burnett has regularly co-taught the introductory required methods seminar for incoming graduate students, History 500, “Introduction to the Professional Study of History. Click here for the transcript of a departmental symposium on the history of this course.

Follow this link to see Professor Burnett lecturing about Moby-Dick and Oceanography.

And click here to read about the freshman seminar (“The Beast in the Sea”) that Burnett taught in the spring of 2007.



On Thursday, the 6th of December, Burnett met Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro and Eva Díaz for a discussion about Argentinian artist Gyula Kosice and Pérez-Barreiro’s new book, Gyula Kosice in conversation with/en conversación con Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro. The event was at Cabinet in Brooklyn; for more, click here.

On Wednesday, October 10, Burnett and Cornel West were in conversation as the keynote for “Pro+Agonist: The Art of Opposition,” an evening on “the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle.” The event was a launch for a book of the same title, edited by Marisa Jahn, and also featured other contributors to the book. It took place in Cooper Union’s Great Hall; for more, click here.

Burnett joined Richard Sieburth and Tirdad Zolghadr on Thursday, September 20, at Cabinet, in celebration of Zolghadr’s new book, Plot, for a conversation about lists and their relationship to language, literary forms, and techniques of self-organization. For more, click here.

On the 28th of July, Burnett participated in another of Cabinet’s “Fairs for Knowledge,” this one on “American Fauna” at the former home of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Poetry Lab, Burnett and Jeff Dolven’s semi-regular series at Cabinet, returned on July 26 with “Everyone and I and Frank O’Hara.”


Burnett and friends were in residence at Mildred’s Lane this year, sifting the mysteries of the Order of the Third Bird.

Burnett contributed an essay (“In Lies Begin Responsibilities”) to the catalog of “More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness,” currently at SITE Santa Fe.

Marisa Jahn’s new book project is out, Pro+agonist—a study of the pains and pleasures of opposition. She has reprinted Burnett and Cornel West on the scary world of Melville’sConfidence Man.

Listen to an interview Burnett did with Carla Nappi on The Sounding of the Whale here.

Burnett’s stuff on dolphins and drugs and the mind recently came out in Japan, in the science magazine Kagaku.

On the 26th of May, Burnett participated in the Machete Group’s “Dictionary of the Present” series at the ICA in Philadelphia. More on the series here and on the specific event here.

Burnett and friends ran a set of “Attention Labs” at the Emily Harvey Foundation in SoHo—workshop meetings in February, March, and April.

On April 21st, Burnett spoke at the Philadelphia Book Festival. A full program for the event is here.

On the 18th of April, Burnett (with Sal Randolph, Helen Mira, and a special disruptive guest) presented at the Sert Gallery of the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. Title of the talk (part of the BYO series for contemporary art): “The Order of the Third Bird: Further Research on the Fascicle of E.” A practicum at the Sackler got things rolling. More here.

Burnett was at Labyrinth Books in Princeton on Wednesday, March 28, to read from his new book, The Sounding of the Whale. More info here.

On Monday, 12 March, Burnett did the MIT Colloquium in Science and Technologies Studies. The title is “History of Science: Why and Wherefore?” and the commentator is Gregg Mitman. Click here for more.

On March 11th, Burnett spoke at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The subject? Don’t want to shock you here… Whales! Click here for details.

On Thursday night, March 8th, Burnett joined Swedish artist Mats Bigert for a little end-time madness at the Spring Break show in NoLIta—part of the Armory Arts Week. Check out the doomsayers in the act:

Burnett did an hour on NPR’s “On Point” with Tom Ashbrook on Monday, 13 February, talking about whales, whale science, and whale fantasy. To listen, go here.

On February 11th, Burnett joined Ed Eigen and Paulo Tavares to discuss “Hard and Soft Evidence” at “The Geologic Turn: Architecture’s New Alliance,” a symposium at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. More here.

On Sunday the 29th of January, Burnett and Sina Najafi performed an apocalyptic soapbox reading from The Last Calendar at PS1’s winter open house. Details here.

On 28 January, at the Cabinet space in Brooklyn, 5-7 p.m., Burnett and friends celebrated the release of The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century, just out from Chicago. There was whale song, whale pics, whale talk, and … whale hors d’oeuvre (mock whale, that is, conjured by the culinary genius Kiel Borrman). Click here for the skinny on the party and an audio recording of the evening’s talk. Check out the excessively generous recent reviews: NYTFTTelegraph, and WSJ! The event was picked up by the bloggers at Smithsonian—read more here.

On 25 January, Burnett and Sal Randolph donned their “ethereal chapeaux” to present “The Order of the Third Bird: Documents and Considerations” at the Bard Graduate Center. More info here. Watch a video of the presentation here:

On the 12th and 13th of January Burnett participated in an NEH-sponsored charette organized around plans for the 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. The last nineteenth-century wooden whaleship will set sail again in 2014, as part of an artistic, historical, and scientific carnival centered on the sea. Click here for more.



On Friday the 9th of December, Burnett presented the final installment of the “Hark, the White Whale” series at the Providence Athenaeum. The event launched the publication of Burnett’s new book, The Sounding of The Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century, which is just hitting bookshelves in time for X-Mas (and at 815 pages, it hits with a thud…).

Burnett and Jeff Dolven were at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia on Thursday, November 17, to give a lunchtime lecture entitled, “Critique and Its Discontents: Notes toward a Post-Critical (?) Pedagogy.” More on the Society of Fellows here.

On November 12th, Burnett keynoted “Institutionalizing Interdisciplinarity” at Columbia University, sponsored by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. More info here.

Check out this essay (from Lapham’s Quarterly): Burnett on Hayden White, Heraclitus, Guatemala, Hegel, and a haircut.

Burnett and collaborator Sal Randolph showed work at the “Utopia” exhibition at CS13 in Cincinnati (through October 15). The editorial sub-committee of the Order of the Third Bird recently issued a pair of letters which appear to be from 1848, and published them as “The Clermont Connection: Evidences Bearing on Associationist Associations of the Order at Midcentury (The Robinson/Fairwright Correspondence).” Copies of the offprint were given away freely in the gallery, where one of the original texts is on display. For more on the exhibition, click here.

On Saturday, November 5, at BAM, Burnett will moderate “Antarctic Voyage,” a panel related the concurrent production 69°S by the artist group Phantom Limb. The panel features Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb’s co–artistic directors, and Daniel P. Schrag, professor of geology and environmental science at Harvard University. For more on the event, see here.

Burnett presented on the “Laboratories of Risk” at the European Culture Congress in Wrocław, Poland, on the 10th of September. More on the whole event here.

Burnett and friends kicked off the 2011 Warhol Foundation “Arts Writers Convening” with a performance/practice of “The Order of the Third Bird” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the evening of Thursday, August 4. For more, see here.

On Wednesday, July 27, Burnett joined McKenzie Wark and Ali Dur at Cabinet in Brooklyn for a discussion of Wark’s new book on the Situationists, The Beach beneath the Street. For more, see here.

Burnett and a group of his collaborators and friends were in residency at Mildred’s Lane for the week of July 11–17, presenting on “The Order of the Third Bird,” a cult-like group of art-oriented theorists-practitioners with a mysterious history.

Burnett participated in the “Festival of Ideas for the New City” that took place in NYC, May 4–8. He worked a booth (Saturday, May 7, 5–7 pm) at “The University on the Bowery,” a pedagogical street project put together by Cabinet magazine and the New Museum.

On the 6th of May, Burnett and the artist Lisa Young screened a video collaboration at a joint session of the Philadelphia Cinema and Media Seminar and the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science. Click here for more info.


Burnett had a hand in organizing “Curiosity and Method,” a symposium on April 9 celebrating ten years of publication of Cabinet magazine. The all-day event took place at Princeton and featured a diverse group of writers and thinkers on some keywords that have been important in framing the Cabinet project. For more information, see here. Click here for a PDF of the poster for the symposium.

On Friday, March 18, Burnett hosted “Clipping, Copying, and Thinking,” a panel and launch event for A Little Common Place Book. Historian Ann Blair and poet Kenneth Goldsmith joined him for a ranging conversation on textual practices and the life of the mind. For more information, click here.

Does a poem have parts? Organs? Systems? How do they fit together? And can they be teased apart? On Friday, March 11, seeking to answer these questions, Burnett and Jeff Dolven hosted “William Carlos Williams: Anatomy of a Poem,” the latest installment of Cabinet’s Poetry Lab series. For more information, click here. See a write-up on the New Yorker‘s blog Book Bench here.

Burnett presented (with J. Dolven) a “Dream Talk” in San Francisco on the 3rd of March. The venue? “After Dark at the Exploratorium.” The event was part of “Art as a Way of Knowing”—a two-day symposium on knowledge and creativity. Click here for more.

On the 12th of February, in Toronto, Burnett was in conversation with David Gissen at the symposium “Architecture Is All Over” at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Sponsored by Work Books and OCAD. Click here for a PDF of the program.

Burnett and David Kaiser (MIT) co-hosted this year’s Princeton Workshop in the History of Science. The subject was the relationship between science and the counter-culture, 1955–1975. Feburary 4–5, at Princeton; pre-circulated papers. Click here for more information. Click here for a PDF of the poster for the workshop.

On Thursday the 27th of January Burnett hosted “Art, Truth, Lies: The Pleasures and Perils of Deception,” a panel discussion in the NYPL “Live!” Series. Guests included Glenn Lowry and Carrie Lambert-Beatty. Click here for more information. See a write-up in Artforum online here. Watch a video of the discussion here.




Burnett contributed to The New City Reader, part of the exhibition “The Last Newspaper” that ran at the New Museum in Lower Manhattan during Fall and Winter 2010/11. The NCR is a project that re-conceived the newspaper as a public space. It was part of a performance-based editorial residency running concurrently with the show on contemporary art and paper-based news media. Burnett did a piece on “Outsider Science” for the issue edited by David Benjamin and Livia Corona.

Burnett and fellow Cabinet editor Christopher Turner curated “The Slice: Cutting to See,” an exhibition that, moving across historical moments and disparate fields, examined the peculiar traditions that link the keen eye to the sharp blade. Everything you ever wanted to know about the microtome. The exhibition ran from Friday, November 19, through Wednesday, December 15, 2010, at the Architectural Association School of Architecture Gallery in London. See reviews of the exhibition in BMJ and the Independent. Watch a video walk-through of the exhibition below.

“The Slice: Cutting to See” Walk-Through. Video by Luke Currall. Thanks to Vanessa Norwood and the AA School.

Burnett wrote the introduction to Cabinet Books’ recently published A Little Common Place Book. Part pocket-sized filing cabinet, part indexing guide, this hardcover notebook includes an essay on the art of commonplacing as practiced by John Locke and 144 blank pages for collecting your thoughts. For images or to purchase, go here.

Burnett has an essay in the catalog of the 2010 Mark Dion show at the Oakland Museum. Click here for more information about the show, and here for a link to the book, The Marvelous Museum: Orphans, Curiosities & Treasures, with contributions from Lawrence Weschler, Rebecca Solnit, and others.

In 2009, Burnett and a friend began working on a conceptual project involving chess and the novel. For a taste, click here to read an experimental essay in “ludic criticism”; or click here to go right to the first fruit of the collaboration, an online computer program that lets you pit one novel against another in a chess match. The US Chess Federation recently ran a story about this project—click here to check it out.

Burnett and video artist Lisa Young teamed up in 2010 on a multimedia project that premiered as part of “Seeing from Above,” a conference at the Wellcome Collection, London. Part éloge, part montage, the collaborative piece, “Free Fall: The Life and Times of Bud ‘Crosshairs’ MacGinitie,” is an experiment in biographical sky-diving.

In celebration of 10/10/10, on Wednesday October 6, 2010, Burnett hosted a discussion and screening of Charles and Ray Eames’s short film Powers of Ten. The screening took place in Elebash Recital Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue in New York, at 7 pm. For more information, click here.

Burnett had a hand in organizing a show that opened on March 30, 2010: “An Ordinall of Alchimy,” at the Cabinet Space in Brooklyn. It’s about collecting, art, money, and the internet. After Cabinet, it moved on to the Slought Foundation in Philly, where was on view from April 30 until June 14. Click here for more on the project from Cabinet and here for more on its stay at the Slought Foundation.

On June 8, 2010, Burnett convened a discussion between Lawrence Weschler and Lena Herzog at the NYPL-Live series. The occasion: Herzog’s new show (at the ICP until September 12)—Burnett did an essay for the catalog, Lost Souls.

On the 7th of June, 2010, Burnett showed an installation version of NovelChess at WhiteBox on Broome Street. Music by Les Chauds LapinsHere’s the invite.

On Thursday, the 27th of May, 2010, Burnett chaired a post-performance discussion of Cynthia Hopkins’ The Truth: A Tragedy at the Soho Rep Theater in Manhattan. Dave Herman was there from the City Reliquary Museum.

“Military Dreams and the Deep-Sea Mind.” On May 15, 2010, at 6 pm, at the Cabinet Space, Burnett screened some old Navy propaganda films concerning its Marine Mammal Program; he was in discussion with Laurel Braitman afterwards. More here.

On Saturday the 8th of May, 2010, at 3 pm, Burnett read “Two Bubbles, and a Third” at Art in General, and talked with Italian artists Hilario Isola and Matteo Norzi about their new project, Liquid Door, realized in conjunction with the New York Aquarium. For more, click here.

On the 5th of May, 2010, at the Natural History Museum in NYC, there was a screening of Ric Burns’ new documentary on American whaling: Into the Deep. Burnett is one of the talking heads in the film, and he also served on the board of advisers for the project, which was funded by the NEH and WGBH Boston, where it broadcast on May 10. More here.

On Sunday, April 11, 2010, at the Cabinet Space in Brooklyn, Burnett joined in conversation the distinguished Swiss critic and historian of neuroscience Michael Hagner, who screened Pudovkin’s creepy 1926 documentary The Mechanics of the Brain. This event was been supported in part by the Mellon Foundation. Click here for more.

Burnett wrote a catalog essay for a gallery show that ran from January 15 to April 5, 2010, at the Drawing Center, in Soho. The show, curated by Nina Katchadourian, was entitled “Sea Marks,” and it featured three contemporary artists whose work deals with the ocean.

2009 and back into the deep past

2009 and back into the deep past

For PERFORMA 2009, Burnett contributed to “Speed Reading,” an event that featured texts on speed read from treadmills: that’s him on the right, performing a suite of historical fragments on the nineteenth-century reception of the Velocipede.

In 2009 Burnett, as part of his Mellon “New Directions” Fellowship, Burnett was in residence at Columbia University, where he was a fellow at the Italian Academy and worked with the artist Mark Dion and the neuroscientist Franco Pestilli. In the fall, he brought together the neuroscientist Sabine Kastner and the artist Terry Winters in a conversation with historian of science Peter Galison at the Kitchen in Chelsea.

In 2007 Burnett contributed to the Berlin-Based exhibition “Objects in Transition” at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte; click here to see his catalog essay.

In 2005 Burnett organized  “Lives of the Sea: A Symposium on the History of Marine Life,” an interdisciplinary conference (sponsored by the Program in History of Science and the Princeton Environmental Institute) featuring biologists, fisheries scientists, and historians who work on historical population data for marine species (see poster below).

Apocrypha, Pseudonymities, Experiments, Projects

“The Frye Trunk: Opening a ‘Pandora’s Box’ in the Archives of Attention” (with others)
Catalog of THE THIRD, MEANING, an exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, October 2022 – October 2023.
Proceedings of the Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization, New Series VIII, Supplement (2022).

“Portable Monstrance #21” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
The problem of framing what must center the attention.
In ELEVEN YEARS, edited by Nina Slejko Blom & Conny Blom (Bukovje: CAC Art Center, 2022)

“Kiss the Wing” (anonymous, with collaborators)
Avian marginalia as manicule (“the sage points to the moon, the fool looks at the finger…”).
Tank, vol. 10, issue 10 (winter 2022): 178-193

Paper Shrapnel” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Carnival and violence.
Very, Vary, Veri 4: 7-8; 2020

The Museum Plans” (with David Richardson). Exhibition catalog prepared in conjunction with 2019 Fall Open House at Mana Contemporary. Supplement to the Proceedings of the Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization, September 2019.

The Bird Bookmarks” (with Jessica Palinski). Exhibition catalog prepared in conjunction with 2019 Spring Open House at Mana Contemporary. Supplement to the Proceedings of the Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization, April 2019.

The Hale Transcripts: Object Oriented Ventriloquy during the Cold War,” a reprint from the Proceedings of ESTAR(SER), and appearing in: Hybrid Practices: Art in Collaboration with Science and Technology in the Long 1960s, edited by David Cateforis, Steven Duval, and Shepherd Steiner (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019).

Leftovers: I Was Opened” (Anonymous)
The revolution will not be aestheticized.
Cabinet, Issue 65: 84-91; Fall 2018

Spirit Duplication” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Techniques of printing and the gods.
Reprinted in Ruth Pelizer-Montada, Perspectives on Contemporary Printmaking (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018)

Pilgrimage Amulet” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
An object for wayfinding.
in Navigation, edited by Hinrich Sachs et al. (Eindhoven: Onomatopee, 2018).

Three Theses on the Sublime
Further leaves from the commonplace book.
Take, Volume 3 Issue 1: 75; January – June 2017.

PRESENTING AND REPRESENTING THE ‘W-CACHE’: Problems of Selection, Access, and Documentation in Relation to the Material culture of the Order of the Third Bird” (with others).  Catalog of an exhibition in Los Angeles (at the Museum of Jurassic Technology) in September of 2016. Proceedings of the Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization, New Series, Part 7, Supplement (2016).

Screen Capture” / “Bildschirmaufnahme
An experiment with artificial intelligence (and Camille Henrot)
Parkett 97: 132-147; 2016.

The Lyell Slip: Evidence of Bird Practices in the Social Circles of the Philoperisteron, London, ca. 1879” (Eigil zu Tage-Ravn, pseud.)
in Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others, edited by Eric Ellingsen, Julius van Bismarck, and Julian Charrière (Berlin: Lars Müller,  2015).

A Modest Proposal
Creative restraint and the American reader.
Documents of Uncertain Provenance, April 2014

“Blood, Language, and Voom” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
The second coming of the Cat in the Hat
Cabinet, Issue 52: 12-14; Winter 2013/14.

“The Death of Scheherazade: Fragments” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Isaac Dinesen cannot save you…
Tribes, Issue 14: 36-39; 2013.

“The Last Rivet: Kant Meets Rockefeller” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
The sublime of fragility, the sublimity of synecdoche, the plastic sublime. On Sixth Avenue
in Hang onto Your Hot Lights: Conviction Rebranded, edited by Nick Paperone and Rory Parks (Portland, ME: Primetime, 2013).

“‘Dearest E.’: New Documents Relating to the Order of the Third Bird; Links between British & Parisian Activities in the 1870s (The ‘Facsicle of E.’)” (with J. Mullen and S. Randolph)
Publication of documents ostensibly bearing on the history of the Order of the Third Bird
RES: Anthropology & Aesthetics, Vol. 63/64, Wet/Dry, Spring/Autumn 2013.

“Leftovers / Cephalophoric Reason” (Eigil Zu Tage-Ravn, pseud.)
Bataille and flatworms? A brief counter-history of head carrying
Cabinet, Issue 49: 16-17; Spring 2013.

“Giving Back” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Ask not what the tree can do for you
Cabinet, Issue 48: 75; Winter 2012/13.

“Regarding the pain of others?” (Dusty Keelson-Maar, pseud.)
Casanova glimpses a terrifying thing—actually, several
Cabinet, Issue 46: 78-79; Summer 2012.

“Inventory / To Do” (Molly Gottstauk, pseud.)
Scripting the self.
Cabinet, Issue 44: 12–13; Winter 2011/12.

“Colors / Umber” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Only the shadow knows.
Cabinet, Issue 43: 9–11; Fall 2011.

“Notes toward a Concrete Criticism” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
The critic is also sitting in a room.
in Reception Rooms, edited by K. Collins et al. (Princeton: IHUM Books, 2011).

“The Clermont Connection: Evidences Bearing on Associationist Associations of the Order at Midcentury (The Robinson/Fairwright Correspondence)” (with Sal Randolph)
Publication of documents ostensibly bearing on the history of the Order of the Third Bird.
Proceedings of the Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization, New Series: part 4; 2011.

“Artist Projects / Monument to Forgetting” (Eigil zu Tage-Ravn, pseud.)
One of a set of artist projects considering monuments to the act of forgetting.
Cabinet, Issue 42: 87–91; Summer 2011.

“Drain Pipes, Dream Pipes, Pipe Dreams” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
Ecclesiastical plumbing.
Cabinet, Issue 41: 79–81; Spring 2011.

“Dialectics of the Shmoo” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
On the lives and afterlives of Al Capp’s The Life and Times of the Shmoo.
Cabinet, Issue 40: 10–12; Winter 2010/11.
Reprinted in: Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine (New York: Cabinet Books, 2012).

“Spirit Duplication”  (Yara Flores, pseud.)
A meditation on catechism, the ditto device, and the semiotics of technology.
Cabinet, Issue 39: 74–75; Fall 2010.
In 2011, Edit republished “Spirit Duplication” in German.

“Leftovers / The Art of Mechanical Reproductions” (Yara Flores, pseud.)
A visual project on the end of the book.
Cabinet, Issue 37: 20–21; Spring 2010.

“Ingestion / The Word Made Flesh” (Eigil Zu Tage-Ravn, pseud.)
Parafiction on the history of text eating.
Cabinet, Issue 36: 7–9; Winter 2009/10.

“Reading to the Endgame” (with W. J. Walter)
An experiment in ludic literary criticism built out of a computer-based work of conceptual art.
Cabinet, Issue 35: 40–44; Fall 2009.
In 2010, OEI republished “Reading to the Endgame” in Swedish.

“Plaice and Place” (Sanelma Nicht, pseud.)
Parafiction on the biogeography of flatfish. Part of a commissioned portfolio of artists’ projects and essays on “pla(i)ce” in the arts.
Cabinet, Issue 32: 45–46; Winter 2008/09.

“The Rational Hearth: Gauger, Descartes, and the Vestal Complex” (Frumento Combusti, pseud.)
An essay on Bachelard and 18th-century fireplace design.
Cabinet, Issue 32: 99-102; Winter 2008/2009.

“Four Leaves from a Commonplace Book”
A sequence of prose poems based on traditions of textual citation.
Cabinet, Issue 30: 47-49; Summer, 2008.

“The Edge of the C”
An essay on Paul Carter and the poetry of Wallace Stevens.
Southerly, Vol. 66(2): 27-35; Spring, 2006.

“And a Man Child”
A poem offered in completion/rejection of Stevens’ “Comedian as the Letter C.”
Southerly, Vol. 66(2): 35-39; Spring, 2006.

“Maycomb-Macdonnell, M.I. Return (1764–1818?)” (Frum O. Combist, pseud.)
The life of M.I. Return Maycomb-Macdonnell; a Montweazle, assigned by the editorial house.
The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists, vol. 3: K–Q (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 1382–1388.