Book Launch: “Take Care” and “The Ambivalents”



Join Jeff Dolven and Sally O'Reilly for an evening celebrating the publication of their new books: Take Care and The Ambivalents, the fifth and sixth volumes of Cabinet Magazine's “24-Hour Book” series. The two books were entirely created and designed during the exact same twenty-four-hour period, with Dolven installed at Cabinet’s gallery space in New York and O’Reilly working in a room at the Inner Temple in London. For this transatlantic exercise in authorial constraint, both writers were asked to consider a found document revealed to them one day in advance—the 1986 catalogue for Braintree Scientific, an American company that manufactures lab products used in experiments on rats and mice.

Dolven’s book—a meditation on care and caring—imagines the catalogue itself as the trace of an experiment into the place of animals in the late-century scientific culture of the United States, an experiment that vacillates between the techne that frames animal testing and a desire to give solace to creatures on the verge of death.

For her book, O’Reilly decided to compose dozens of letters to the company in the guise of a wide range of characters, including an artist, a literary critic, a dissatisfied customer, several schoolchildren, and a man who, like the animals on display in the catalogue, is perhaps close to death.

More information about the two books, as well as a PDF of the catalogue that provided the prompt, here.

About the authors Jeff Dolven is a critic and poet who teaches at Princeton University. He is the author of two books of criticism, Scenes of Instruction (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and Senses of Style (University of Chicago Press, 2017), and a book of poems, Speculative Music (Sarabande, 2013). He has written frequently for Cabinet on topics ranging from player pianos to poisoned milk.

Sally O’Reilly writes for performance, page, and video. Recent projects include the novelCrude (Eros Press, 2016), libretti for the operas And London Burned (Temple Music Foundation) and The Virtues of Things (Royal Opera, Aldeburgh Music, and Opera North, 2015) and a monograph on Mark Wallinger (Tate Publishing, 2015). She was writer-in-residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (2010–2011) and at Modern Art Oxford (2016); producer and cowriter of The Last of the Red Wine, a radio sitcom set in the art world (ICA, London, 2011); and coeditor of Implicasphere (2003–8), an interdisciplinary broadsheet.

Cabinet wishes to thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of this project.