The Lunder Center galleries are temporarily closed.


For Immediate Release

September 25, 2014

Williamstown, MA—In celebration of the Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Radical Words: From Magna Carta to the Constitution, Brent Heeringa, associate professor and chair of computer science at Williams College, presents the free lecture “Radical Encoding: Seeing Is Remembering” on Thursday, October 9 at 5 pm. The lecture will be held on the lower level of the Clark Center. A reception in the Museum Pavilion follows the presentation, and galleries will remain open until 8 pm.

Heeringa explores the concept that whether it is our ability to detect a wide range of colors or to remember a face we haven’t seen for years, the human brain is impressively adept at interpreting, encoding, and remembering visual data. It is not, however, especially adept at remembering strings of arbitrary numbers—the very patterns that identify so much of contemporary life, from credit cards to bank account numbers. This talk discusses an alternative approach that transforms symbolic information into visual representations, radically simplifying both recall and security.

Brent Heeringa teaches courses on algorithm design and the theory of computation at Williams College, where he has been since 2006. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His graduate work focused on models and algorithms for improving access to organized information with applications to web site design and optimal decision making. During the final year of his graduate studies, Brent helped several other computer scientists start Cogo Labs, a company specializing in pay-per-click advertising. In 2009 Brent was a visiting scholar at Boston University where, with colleagues from BU and Harvard, he worked on combinatorial problems related to heaps.

This is the third of four free talks in the Clark’s Radical Words Speaker Series, which is held in conjunction with Williams College’s “The Book Unbound” initiative. The series, featuring presentations by faculty and students, explores the dynamics of language and what “radical words” may mean—historically, politically, culturally, and from the perspectives of different academic disciplines. A reception in the Museum Pavilion follows each presentation, and galleries will remain open until 8 pm.


The Clark Art Institute is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark opened its expanded facilities on July 4, 2014, unveiling new and enhanced spaces that accommodate the continued growth of the Institute’s programs. Included in this final stage of the project are the new 42,600-square-foot Clark Center designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, expansion and renovation of the original Museum Building and the ongoing renovation of the Manton Research Center by Selldorf Architects, and a sweeping redesign of the grounds by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture. The first phase of the campus expansion project was completed in 2008 with the opening of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, a striking conservation and exhibitions facility also designed by Tadao Ando.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Opening season hours: Galleries open daily from July 4 through October 13, 2014, 10 am to 5 pm. From October 14, 2014 through June 30, 2015: Galleries open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20 through October 31, 2014 and free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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