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A Proposition by Paul Chan: Wht is lawlessness? Wht is a book? 

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Public Programs

A Proposition by Paul Chan: Wht is lawlessness? Wht is a book? 

December 10 – 11 2011

Who follows the law? Who or what confers authority to law? Who or what confers authority to the authority who confers authority to law? Is authority what makes law feel unlawful? Is law followed or found? What is the nature of law? What is the relationship between human law and the law of nature? Is art bound by law? If so, which one? If not, why not? If one does not know the law, is one still bound by it? Why does what we know feel so unknowing? What is worth knowing? What can be taught? Can nature be taught? Does nature know us like law? Is lawlessness then a kind of unknowing? If art is not bound by law, is it a crime? What is crime? What is the matter? Propositions is a public forum that explores ideas in development. Each two-day seminar introduces a topic of current investigation in an invited speaker’s own artistic or intellectual practice. Over the course of a seminar session, these developing ideas are responded to, researched, and discussed to propel them forward in unique ways.

In 2010, Paul Chan started a press, Badlands Unlimited. Historical distinctions between books, files, and artworks are dissolving rapidly. Badlands publishes e-books as well as paper books and produces new works by artists and writers who embody the spirit of this emerging dissolution. At least this is what the website says. In reality, Badlands is a series of questions in the form of an independent publishing venture. Those questions include: What is reading? How does reading turn into knowing? How does knowing become doing? Does it matter if knowing only knows? What is a book? Is reading a book different from reading a menu, or an affidavit, or a painting? Why are books associated with bodies? When books are burned, why is it natural to assume that people are next? Does it have to do with Eros? How do you burn an e-book? Propositions is a public forum that explores ideas in development. Each two-day seminar introduces a topic of current investigation in an invited speaker’s own artistic or intellectual practice. Over the course of a seminar session, these developing ideas are responded to, researched, and discussed to propel them forward in unique ways.

The structure of a Proposition by Paul Chan is as follows: Friday, 7 p.m. – Wht is lawlessness? Saturday, 3 p.m. – Wht is a book? Paul Chan lives and works in New York.