This reading, Ambiguity Forum, was staged at the Renaissance Society on Jan 14, 2017, as part of the program accompanying Sadie Benning's exhibition Shared Eye (Nov 19 - Jan 22, 2017).
In both form and content, Sadie Benning’s works often suggest how indeterminacy or ambiguity can take on a political dimension or an active quality. More generally, in many different contexts, ambiguity becomes a concept to contend with, whether as something to embrace, challenge, or question. A number of artists and writers were invited to send in short written responses to these ideas. Their replies were also joined by selected excerpts from other books, essays, and poems. A performative reading of these varied texts in the gallery space staged a polyphony of sorts, with different voices rising up within the exhibition.
The reading featured new contributions by Alex Chitty, Mashinka Firunts, David Getsy, Matthew Goulish, Sara Magenheimer, Jesse Malmed, Jennifer Reeder, and Steve Reinke.
Nicholson Baker, “Changes of Mind,” in The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber, 1997.
James Baldwin, excerpt from “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity,” speech recorded at the Community Church, New York, 1962.
Jorge Luis Borges, “Argumentum Ornithologicum,” in Collected Fictions, 1999.
Hayan Charara, excerpt from “Usage,” in Something Sinister, 2016.
Lydia Davis, “Agreement,” in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, 2010.
Simone de Beauvoir, excerpt from The Ethics of Ambiguity, 1948.
William Empson, excerpt from Seven Types of Ambiguity, 1930.
Jamie Holmes, excerpt from Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing, 2015.
Clarice Lispector, “Fifth Story,” in The Complete Stories, 2015.
Claudia Rankine, excerpt from Citizen, 2014.
David Shields, excerpt from Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, 2010.
Ludwig Wittengenstein, excerpt from On Certainty, 1969.
Additional selections read by Elizabeth Allen-Cannon, Brit Barton, Jessica Cochran, Max Guy, Michael Harrison, Karsten Lund, Karen Reimer, Angela Zhang, and Zsofia Valyi-Nagy.