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The Problem is the Solution: Smartphones & Attention

Saturday, October 15, 2016, 11am - 2pm

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Our digital devices—our hand-held smartphones and watches, our tablets and laptops— are often thought of as multiplying (or squaring or cubing) the problem of distraction. Project 404 teaches practices of attention using the devices that threaten to distract us, by asking participants to focus on one image for 12 minutes of silence with the phone or device in airplane mode. The ambition of the project, as the name indicates, is to reverse the “not found” message we often see when looking for a website, and to send it back— briefly— to who or whatever else wants our attention. 

This event is free but reservations are required.


Located in the 41 Cooper Gallery, located in 41 Cooper Square, on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.