Reviews of Viscous Expectations

EXAMINED LIFE, Avital Ronell, 2008. ©Zeitgeist Films

“The pride of the European Graduate School, Cara Judea Alhadeff breaks new ground with her first book. Devoted to a radical engagement with embodied democracy, the work offers wide-ranging insight into precarious textual adventure and the artistic intercept. A bold and remarkable boundary-crossing on a number of crucial levels.” —Avital Ronell,Professor of the Humanities, New York University, Jacques Derrida Professor of Philosophy and Media, European Graduate School Switzerland, author of Loser Sons: Politics and Authority

“In Viscous Expectations, Cara Judea Alhadeff offers an innovative hybrid of complex theoretical discourse, performative photography, and timely political analysis. He treatment of vulnerability is particularly provocative, as are her analyses of the collision of the hyperphysical with the hyper virtual. Alhadeff opens up new ways of thinking about contemporary life and sexuality, while delving deep into myriad subjects. Everything is embodied, endowed with a sensual visual or verbal presence– from dreams, to pregnancy and motherhood, to Occupy Wall Street. Alhadeff’s work is a fascinating fusion of art and scholarship. Intricate theoretical text is paralleled by unexpected photographic imagery – sensuous, enigmatic, and layered. The book extends into new and fluid realms the still valid idea that ‘the personal is political.’ Intellectually rigorous and esthetically daring, the book is hard work, and worth it.” —Lucy R. Lippard, art writer, curator, and activist. Author of 22 books on art and cultural criticism.

“A radical provocation envisioning a ‘collaborative emancipatory project’ based on a ‘dialectic of the unresolvable’ and the ‘becoming impossible.’ Alhadeff’s Viscous Expectations: Justice, Vulnerability, The Ob-scene, presents the work of an extraordinary individual whose fascinating auto-biography— an American, Spanish/Turkish Jew —breathes a renewed sense of urgency into a lived philosophy, ‘perceiving the world through possibility rather than prescription.’ Intimating an ae(s)thetics of contestation, intercession, resistance, and outrage, Alhadeff’s project reinvigorates the scandal that is philosophy. A tour de force, whose intellectual and aes
_(t)(h)etic bravura will stun the reader.”—Sigrid Hackenberg y Almansa, Assistant Professor of Art and Philosophy, European Graduate School Switzerland, Chair of Independent Studies, Institute for
Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, Maine, author of Total History, Anti-History, and the Face that is Other

Viscous Expectations: Justice, Vulnerability, the Ob-scene by Cara Judea Alhadeff is exactly what an ‘art book’ should be, it offers a unique and singular world view, posing more questions than answers, but advancing lines of thought and arguments into uncomfortable territory in the form of photos and text to create a further understanding of ourselves. The first impressions of her work always offer uncertain footing, causing one to find their own balance of previously conceived notions and context, and then challenge them with the new information Judea Ahadeff offers with her sensual, beautiful and often disturbing pictures. This is important work by an artist that is unflinching with her camera and pen.” —Robert Mailer Anderson, author of Boonville, producer of “Pig Hunt”

Cara Judea Alhadeff’s long and rigorous experience of finding new visions and new ways of seeing with photography lead to this dense and far-reaching discourse. ‘I don’t experience my photographic work as strictly ‘photography’—but rather as a two-dimensional manifestations of dance, sculpture, poetry, sociological investigation, and philosophical engagement’.(326) With enormous energy and theoretical appetite, her thought exposes itself to the most difficult and most radical contemporary thinkers, contesting them with her own experience and insights. She also engages with viewers who are critical, censorious, and simply puzzled—igniting consternation, unheard-of issues, and insights. Her thought is unlimited, ambitious, and vulnerable. It issues in putting vulnerability central, rather than individual autonomy or collective enterprise, rather than the subject of rights or the construction of institutions; and, opens a new perspective on justice and democracy.”
Alphonso Lingis, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Penn State University, author of Violence and Splendor, Dangerous Emotions, Trust