November was a busy month at Pacific Asia Museum: the evening after the opening of 46 N. Los Robles, we had this season’s second installment of Active Cultures, our dynamic winter series where two speakers share their expertise on topics that don’t necessarily relate to each other. To further add to our theme of finding unexpected relationships between diverging topics, our first speaker Vincent Horn spoke to us about Buddhist Geeks, the online project he co-founded and directs that unites technology and wisdom. He provided us with brief histories of both Buddhism and “Geekdom”, and then explored how they’ve converged, including the late Steve Jobs’s commitment to Zen and virtual meditation aids.
We then heard from bassist, composer and educator Cory Combs, who flew down from San Francisco to discuss modern music in Indonesia and how it shapes the nation’s cultural identity. He played clips of several music genres like traditional gamelan, American jazz and more recent developments with a variety of influences from around the world. Both speakers spoke to the role of technology in their work: from the cassette tape to meditation apps, it was clear that technology had enabled the spread and development of ideas. As Vincent and Cory shared the stage and opened up discussion to the audience, everyone wondered to what extent cultures can exist without external influences, if something is lost from meditation if it is mediated through technology, and much more.
What’s up next? Active Cultures takes a break in December for the holidays, but we’ll be back on January 20, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., when film historian and fight choreographer Dr. Craig D. Reid will discuss The Power of 1970s Kung Fu Cinema, and photographer Misty Keasler will share images and insights from her book Love Hotels: The Hidden Fantasy Rooms of Japan. Free for members, $10 general admission. You can even reserve your tickets now on Eventbrite! ~KS