On Certainty

Curated by Rit Premnath
March 13 - April 18, 2009
New York

Download Press Release (PDF 124 K)

On Certainty
Group Show Curated by Rit Premnath
March 13 - April 18, 2009

March 2009 New York – Bose Pacia presents "On Certainty," a group show curated by Sreshta Premnath March 13 – April 18, 2009.

"On Certainty" includes a group show, a new issue of the magazine Shifter (co-edited by the participating artists), and a series of public dialogues with economists, neurologists, physicists and writers. The participants contemplate the notion of certainty and its sibling, uncertainty: How and why do we constitute a unified self from which to speak and construe meaning in this world? When we say, "I know..." with certainty, what do we mean?

The title of the show, lifted from Ludwig Wittgenstein's posthumously published book, signals our attempt not only to investigate knowledge and factuality, but furthermore, to interrogate the statement "I saw it with my own eyes." What is the position of the witness (who represents an event) and the authentic subject (who represents a group) in knowledge production?

The interdisciplinary programming of the lecture series reflects the curatorial desire to use the gallery as an intellectual commons. As Edward Said has said, specialization sometimes "means losing sight of the raw effort of constructing either art or knowledge," and by opening up an interdisciplinary conversation we hope to investigate the "choices and decisions" that produce these knowledges, and their certainties.

The artists are: Lindsay Benedict, Joshua Hart, Abhishek Hazra, Pat Palermo, Sreshta Rit Premnath and Kiran Subbaiah.

Through film, performance, and various media Lindsay Benedict presents us with fragments and gestures that examine and question social relations. In her work, affect and raw emotion are often deployed to disrupt and destabilize any simple reading of human connections. A wide ranging temporality, from more deliberate and slowly conceived films and sewn texts to the more immediately gestural drawings allow a dense layering of material and narrative to unravel and intertwine simultaneously.

Pat Palermo's comic books and paintings often ruminate on the question of how and whether it is possible to communicate. Vacillating between the autobiographical subject and the object as subject we are placed within narratives and structures where the criteria for meaning production are, at best, trying. Although always at the center of artistic production, the autobiographical subject remains unsure of, and ever startled by his own position.

Like Kafka's Josef K, Kiran Subbaiah's protagonists, are always caught in a narrative of paradox. Each time he (the protagonist? Subbaiah? The simulacrum presented to us on a screen?) attempts to unravel the knot of representation within which he is bound, we find that it only tightens. Ever more self-reflexively we are seduced through humor, narrative and visual trickery into this paradox of representation only to be reminded again and again: this is only a video.

In Joshua Hart's drawings and sculptural assemblages, forms slip and tumble down the chain of signification, constantly shifting from one thing to another - a camel becomes a soldier, a printed pattern mimics a reflection. Yet the object asserts its base materiality as if to also say, "I am only this." This mirage he draws us into not only makes his objects difficult to fix but also shakes the ground that stabilizes our view. When the body that names is itself unstable how does it go about naming?

Sreshta Premnath is engaged with forms of interrogation and representation. Often using fragments of historic material as anchors, he pieces together found or fabricated images, texts, video and film into installations. He employs strategies of negation, erasure, fracture, displacement and fiction, to explore moments of slippage - those cracks in language where meaning and representation, memory and history split.

Abhishek Hazra's close yet idiosyncratic study of the historiography of science has led him to examine various technologies of knowledge production and dispersion. His projects often settle on moments of technological dysfunction as nodes for narrative exploration. Taking the form of video installation, performance, prints and items for sale on ebay, his projects further complicate his questions by themselves engaging in various modes of production and dispersion of knowledge.

*Presentations will be held at 3pm on the following Saturdays at Bose Pacia.

March 14
Seismosis: A Performance*
Christopher Stackhouse
and John Keene (CS: Writer/ Artist; JK: Associate Professor of English & African American Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston.)

March 21
Guess and Check is Valid Math*
Christopher Perkins
(Researcher, STAR Detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York.)

March 28
Uncertainty, Confidence and Crises*
Arjun Jayadev
(Asst. Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Boston.)

April 4
Readings by Poets, Followed by Discussion*
Organized by Christopher Stackhouse

April 11
Rewiring the Soul: Technologies of the Truth*
Lawrence Liang
(Founding Member, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore)

April 18
The Neuroscience of Language and Certainty*
Kenneth Perrine
, followed by discussion with Arani Bose
(KP: clinical neuropsychologist, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; AB: Gallerist, Director of Stroke Research, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City.)

For more information on this project please visit www.oncertainty.net