Our theme for the 2016-2017 Kreft Arts Program is “Mystery and Enigma.” Many of our events this year examine or illustrate that which is unknowable, inexplicable, inscrutable, or otherwise mysterious. In an era when the popular view of science and technology comes down firmly on the side of clarity, precision, and rationality, what are the uses of obscurity, ambiguity, and incongruity? Where do we find that which baffles or eludes our understanding? What are we to do with such things once we find them? To what degree should we celebrate those things which we cannot comprehend, or shouldn’t we celebrate them at all? From aesthetic theories of the sublime with their emphasis on irregularity, vastness, and the infinite, to scientific investigations of time or wave-particle duality, to religious truths that can be known only by revelation, the theme draws on disciplines as diverse as theology, social science, biology, literature, the musical and visual arts, the medical sciences, and health and human performance.

Mark S. Looker, Ph.D.

Director, the Kreft Art Program
Professor of English