ANDREW SALYER READS HANNAH ARENDT
On a cold December day, in the year 2016, from inside a large corner office with two gigantic windows overlooking downtown, Andrew Salyer read from Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism for seven hours. The reading took place on World Human Rights Day, commemorating the day in 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The project was part of MUNICIPAL, a one-day pop-up art event in the Madison Municipal Building on the eve of its renovation. The performance sought to address the 21st-century rise of fascistic, ethno-nationalist, right-wing sentiments in the United States and political parties across Europe that pose a threat to democracy. Arendt’s work is more relevant than ever, and rather than making a work inspired by her, I decided to directly present her work in its exactitude and entirety.