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Real DeceptionsThe Contemporary Reinvention of Realism$
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Jennifer Friedlander

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190676124.001.0001

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An Uncertain Indeterminacy

An Uncertain Indeterminacy

Aliza Shvarts’s Unseen Senior Project

(p.51) Chapter 3 An Uncertain Indeterminacy
Real Deceptions

Jennifer Friedlander

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the controversy surrounding Yale University senior Aliza Shvartz, who made international headlines when reports circulated that her senior-year art project documented a year in which she frequently tried to impregnate herself while taking herbs to induce a miscarriage. At the heart of the uproar lies a fundamental uncertainty as to the reality of the documented event. In particular, claims that the piece was a “hoax” imply that she performed a mere dissimulation rather than, as Shvartz herself suggests, a true simulation. This case also serves as an opportunity to assess the political implications of artistic forms in which tensions between claims of realism and deception emerge, and it helps us to attend to difficulties encountered in the deployment of both dissimulation and simulation as strategies for upsetting the social order.

Keywords:   Aliza Shvartz, simulation, dissimulation, indeterminacy, hoax

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