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Resolutions 3Global Networks of Video$
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Ming-Yuen S. Ma and Erika Suderburg

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670826

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670826.001.0001

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Representing Uncertainty/Claiming Indeterminacy

Representing Uncertainty/Claiming Indeterminacy

Aliza Shvarts’s Unseen Yale Art Project

(p.235) 20 Representing Uncertainty/Claiming Indeterminacy
Resolutions 3

Jennifer Friedlander

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter uses Yale University senior Aliza Shvarts’s controversial art project as a case study to assess the political implications of artistic forms in which modes and/or claims of deception play a central role. In April 2008 Shvarts made international headlines when reports circulated that her senior year art project involved documenting a nine-month cycle in which she repeatedly inseminated herself while taking herbs to induce a miscarriage. Her project consisted of projecting video footage documenting her bleeding in her bathroom onto a cube draped in blood-stained sheets. The university’s official response to the controversy was that Shvarts’s project acts were not “real.” Shvarts, however, maintained that she did indeed carry out the procedures that the piece documents, although she left the outcome of the acts uncertain. The chapter argues that by falling short of creating a double deception and by bungling an attempt at staging a simulation, Shvarts’s piece not only fails to act as a socially disruptive force but also provides institutions geared toward upholding order with an opportunity to strengthen their grip.

Keywords:   art project, video art, abortion, deception, Aliza Shvarts

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