Exhibition Conversation [Online]: Ann Druyan, The Golden Record, and the Memory of Our Hearts : Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Exhibition Conversation [Online]: Ann Druyan, The Golden Record, and the Memory of Our Hearts

photo of young Ann Druyan with grainy spots and faded waveforms overlaid
Dario Robleto, film still from "The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed," 2019. Image courtesy of Dario Robleto.
6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed March 8, 2023
6:00 PM-7:30 PM


***Online Program***
on Zoom, register for link (see below)


Open to the public


What do we owe to the memory of each other’s hearts? From her work in the 1970s as the Creative Director for NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project to her current role as writer and producer of the beloved television series Cosmos, Ann Druyan has devoted her life to expanding the horizons of human empathy and communication. In insisting that the thresholds of cosmic exploration must be approached with sincerity, humility, and generosity, she has had a deep influence on Dario Robleto’s work throughout his career. Druyan and Robleto will be joined in conversation with The Heart’s Knowledge catalogue contributor Jennifer Roberts, Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, who is co-authoring a book with Robleto about the interstellar journey of the pulse wave recordings that Druyan included on the Voyager Golden Record

 Watch the Coversation


Read the Interview

This program is co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities as part of their ENERGIES dialogue, a year-long conversation about energies—personal, collective, planetary—from different humanistic perspectives. The Block Museum of Art also acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 





 About Program Participants

dario-robleto-1-med-by-kevin-frady-copy.pngDario Robleto was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1972 and received his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1997. He lives and works in Houston, TX.

The artist has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, most recently at the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS (2021); the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2019); the McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX (2018); Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2014); the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014); the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2011). His work has been profiled in numerous publications and media including Radiolab, Krista Tippet's On Being, and the New York Times. In 2008 a 10-year survey exhibition, Alloy of Love, was organized by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Accompanied by a major monograph, Alloy of Love traveled to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington.

Robleto's full bio


anndruyan_headshot.jpgAnn Druyan is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director specializing in the communication of science. Druyan served for 10 years as the elected Secretary of the Federation of American Scientists and began her writing career with the publication of her first novel, “A Famous Broken Heart.” She was the Creative Director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project and Program Director of the first solar sail deep space mission, launched on a Russian ICBM in 2005.

She wrote with her late husband, Carl Sagan, the original 1980s Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning TV series “COSMOS: A Personal Voyage.” It is currently the most watched PBS series in global television history. As Founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios, since 2000, Druyan has built on the success of the original “COSMOS” television series and produced some of the most acclaimed science-based entertainment, including "COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey” and "COSMOS: Possible Worlds," which premiered March 2020.

Ms. Druyan served as Creative Director of the NASA Voyager Interstellar Record Project to design a complex message, including music and images, for possible alien civilizations. These golden phonograph records affixed to the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, the fastest moving vehicles ever created by the human species, are now the most distant objects ever touched by human hands. They have crossed the heliopause, that place far beyond the outermost planets of the solar system where the solar wind gives way to the interstellar medium. They have a projected shelf life of one to five billion years and are expected to make several circumnavigations of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Photo credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images


jenniferroberts_photo.jpegJennifer L. Roberts is Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, where she teaches art history and material culture with an emphasis on the interface between the arts and the natural sciences. She is the author of numerous books and essays on American art and science from the eighteenth century to the present, and has also curated exhibitions in modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. In spring of 2021, she delivered the 70th Annual A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts for the National Gallery of Art, with a series titled Contact: Art and the Pull of Print. She is currently focusing on initiatives to create alliances between the humanities and the STEM fields at Harvard and beyond, and is co-authoring a book with Robleto titled Life Signs: The Tender Science of the Pulsewave