The Lives of Things

With Avi Alpert and Danny Snelson
For the launch of Shifter 21: Other Spaces
Organized by Sreshta Rit Premnath
Moore College of Art & Design
November 20, 2013

The Lives of Things is a performance loosely modeled after JM Coetzee’s lecture-novel Lives of Animals, which details a faculty dinner that follows after an invited speaker disregards the stated topic and, instead, delivers an exposition on the treatment of animals. In this performance, the invited speaker—Avi Alpert—declines to speak on the lives of things. Instead, he presents an impassioned address entitled “On the abolition of the university as such: a modest proposal.” Throughout the duration of his talk,  collaborators Mashinka Firunts Hakopian and Danny Snelson verbally disrupt him from the audience through a whispered private dialogue amplified via wireless microphones. At its conclusion, the three members of Research Service are joined by the evening’s organizer Rit Premnath for a dinner during which the lecture is fumblingly discussed.