“Cabinet on Trial: A Magazine of No Qualities?”
Date: Wednesday, 30 January 2013, 6–8 pm
Location: South Court Auditorium, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, 5th Ave and 42nd St, New York (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary.
Organized by David Levine, George Prochnik, and Sina Najafi
After the celebrations are over, every birthday invariably provokes introspection, inevitably leading to doubt, insecurity, and anxiety as you survey the chasm between aspiration and achievement, and between what you imagine you have accomplished and what others believe you have. Significant birthdays intensify this experience, and so the recent publication of Cabinet magazine’s tenth-anniversary volume, Curiosity and Method, seemed the perfect occasion for Cabinetto drop its aversion to polemics and pick a fight—with itself.
Harking back to the avant-garde tradition of intellectual contestation in the guise of judicial proceedings, “Cabinet on Trial: A Magazine of No Qualities?” is a public hearing—replete with justices and attorneys—that will address the question of how to judge the responsibilities of a periodical today. In what ways can history be mobilized in understanding the present moment? What is the relationship between “timeliness” and “relevance”? What does it mean to be “engaged” today? What roles might truth and fiction play in producing an “accurate” picture of the world? Is curiosity a powerful tool for slowly but surely dismantling received orthodoxies, or does it simply produce an eclecticism that has no traction with regard to the most pressing issues of the day?
Overseen by justices Claire Bishop, Hal Foster, and Ben Wizner—who will deliver a verdict and mete out any necessary punishment—the proceedings will feature Julieta Aranda, D. Graham Burnett, Nick Denton, Natalie de Souza, Ben Kafka, Frederick Kaufman, David Levine, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, George Prochnik, Lytle Shaw, and Mary Walling Blackburn (list in formation).
Though organized by Cabinet, the event is unscripted and will no doubt quickly go awry. Please be prepared for critical fisticuffs.