Sina Najafi

14th January 2021

Between the Hedgehog and the Fox

In his 1953 essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Isaiah Berlin invokes a fragment from the pre-Socratic poet Archilochus: “A fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one large thing.” What does it mean to know many small things, or, indeed, one large thing? What sorts of thinking can we expect from each creature? What is at stake in the different modes of knowledge? Must we choose one over the other, or can we be hybrid creatures?

In this seminar, we will examine some of Cabinet’s projects over the years to understand the ways in which a publication—a container of sorts that holds a number of diverse elements “made” by a variety of contributors—can go about staging different forms and modes of knowledge in a shared intellectual space.

Required Reading:

Land Acquisition 1 Issue 10: (pages 83–88)

Land Acquisition 2 and the three artist projects that go with it (pages 104–110)

Land Acquisition 3 (pages 121-122), Issue 63: p.90-93

Sina Najafi is editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine and executive editor of Cabinet Books. Najafi has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and projects, including “School of Death” (Pompidou Center, 2016; Family Business, 2013, with Simon Critchley), “A Collector’s Album of Traitors, Traders, Translators and Experientialists” (Sharjah Biennial, 2011), “The Bubble” (Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2010), “Jaime Davidoich: The Live Show!” (Cabinet, 2010), “The Museum of Projective Personality Testing” (Manifesta 7, Trento, 2008, with Christopher Turner), “Sivan vs. Finkielkraut,” (Documenta, 2007, with Eyal Weizman), “Philosophical Toys” (Apex Art, 2005), and “Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates” (White Columns and Queens Museum of Art, 2005, with Jeffrey Kastner and Frances Richard). Together with Jeffrey Kastner, he commissioned and edited the twenty-four essays in the catalogue for the 2013 Venice Biennale exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace.” His most recent exhibition, co-curated with Joanna Warsza, is “And Warren Niesluchowski Was There,” currently on view at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw.