School of Art, Media, and Technology

Dictionary of the Possible – Account

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Sunday, March 8, 2015
4-6 pm
The Bark Room
The New School
2 West 13th Street
Room M101
New York, NY 10011

Discussion Leaders:
Maricruz Alarcón
Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta

Over the course of a year SHIFTER, in collaboration with Avi Alpert, is hosting a series of public discussions, each concentrated on unraveling a keyword – a term that carries with it both a sense of urgency and agency in our present climate. By inviting artists, writers, activists and philosophers to propose terms and lead discussions, we have opened up our editorial process to the motivations of others.

For our ninth meeting, on Sunday, March 8th, we will consider the keyword “Account.” Maricruz Alarcón and Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta will discuss the ways in which accounts shape and constitute documents, testimonies, and overall cultural production. By focusing on the interview as a means of obtaining pre-framed responses and desired statements, they will reflect on how certain artists act as both witness and executioner. Through the works of Abu Ali, T. Minh-ha, Canetti, Butler, Ospina, and Mayolo, they will explore the contentious relationship between giving an account and being accountable.

The format of these discussions is central to the project. We do not use the standard mode of lecture or presentation. Rather, we invite two speakers to prepare brief remarks of around 10-15 minutes around the chosen term and pose critical questions for all those present. The conversation is immediately opened up for all. The purpose of the short readings recommended by the discussion leaders is to help stimulate ideas and discussion.

The yearlong series will culminate in SHIFTER’s 22nd issue Dictionary of the Possible. This dictionary will catalog the many keywords taken up for discussion, accompanied by a list of questions provoked during each discussion. Rather than providing static definitions we envision a dictionary that continually incites discussion.

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