03.12.2007

Jenny Perlin — Book launch screening, reading, party and more

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Date/Time: 12/03/2007 12:00 am


Monday 3.12.07 – Jenny Perlin — Book launch screening, reading, party and more
1. About This Monday 3.12.07
2. About Perseverance & How to Develop It
3. About Jenny Perlin
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1. About This Monday 3.12.07
What: Talk / Screening / Discussion
When: Monday 3.12.07
Where: 16Beaver Street, 4th Floor
When: 7:00 pm
Who: Free and open to all
Tonight we are lucky to be able to host an artist’s book launch for Jenny Perlin’s new publication which is based on a film she completed in 2003. In keeping with the spirit of Jenny’s practice and the kind of hetergeneity of forms and styles which she employs to investigate the relationship between historical documents and the present, the shape of this evening will be something of an amalgam of things. In addition to having books for sale and some general milling about (the usual book launch), this evening will be comprised of a screening (we will show the film on which the artist’s book is based), a public interview / conversation between Paige Sarlin and Jenny Perlin, a short reading, and an open discussion. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking evening.
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2. About Perseverance & How to Develop It
Perseverance & How to Develop It
by Jenny Perlin
Published by Navado Press, Trieste, 2006
This book takes the reader on a journey through obsession, the drive for
success, 1915 self-help tricks, and demonstrations at the Ford Motor
Company. It is based on Jenny Perlin’s Perseverance & How to Develop It, a 16mm film inspired by a slim volume of the same title. Perlin proposes that
in the United States there is a historical and cultural cycle of hard work
driven by the desire to succeed, a subsequent emotional collapse, and the
use of self-help or medication, enabling the return to work. The cycle
continues to this very day. This publication contains an essay, film stills, interviews with the film’s main characters and excerpts from the book that started it all, Bessers 1915 best-seller, Perseverance: How to Develop It.
Perseverance & How to Develop It
16mm, b/w + color, sound | 14 minutes, 2003
Perseverance & How to Develop It explores how the growth of industry in the 20th century relied on self-help to instill a drive for success in young workers. Perseverance & How to Develop It was a book published in 1915. Its concluding chapter, “Practical Exercises,” outlined five tasks to be practiced on a daily basis. Untangling yarn, counting grains of rice, measuring oneself against a watch–these tasks made for success, by disciplining the mind and body. These exercises bear a striking resemblance to movements along an assembly line. Perseverance’s publication came at the same time as the perfection of the Ford Motor Company assembly line. In the same period, Sigmund Freud wrote “On Mourning and Melancholia,” describing a phenomenon which we now call depression. The appearance of these texts–at the height of American industrialization and World War I–was not a coincidence. To become a productive member of society, whether working in the city or preparing for war, a young man needed to manage his moods and develop self-control. The same issues come into play today. Workaholism, the widespread use of psycho-pharmaceutical drugs, self-help books, and an insatiable quest for happiness all resonate with Perseverance, written nearly 100 years ago.
Cast: Pablo Helguera, Tami Jantzi, Terry Perlin, Suzanne Wasserman
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3. About Jenny Perlin
Jenny Perlin is an artist who exhibits her work in the U.S. and inter-
nationally. Her film, video, and installation projects include Possible
Models, Associated, Sight Reading, Schumann, View from Elsewhere, Review,
Washing, and Transcript, among others. She teaches at Mount Holyoke and the Five Colleges and divides her time between Massachusetts and New York.
For more information about Jenny Perlin’s work see www.nilrep.net

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