Protocols for the Berger Project was composed in 2018 to celebrate twenty-five years of Vera List Center Fellowships. For the book published on that occasion, former VLC Fellows Maurice Berger and Robert Sember (appointed 1993 and 2009 respectively) reflected on each other’s fellowship projects, separated by two decades but united in theme and intent. Composed by Sember and lifted from said book, Protocols for the Berger Object or What is the Sound of White Lies? envisions a collective inquiry into the lie of white supremacy guided by Berger’s seminal book from 1999, White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness.
Composed as a dialogue, the brief sections of the Berger Project shift rhythmically between first-person accounts, reportage, and thematically curated quotations from other texts. Blank pages break this rhythm, providing silences in which to join Berger in the deliberate and rigorous work of naming and undoing the lies he writes to expose. Protocols for the Berger Object or What is the Sound of White Lies? employs techniques of intentional collective listening developed by the sound art collective Ultra-red to enable us to listen to Maurice listening. On October 6, the protocols are read by Molly Rose Kaufman, Michael A. Roberson, and Robert Sember.
Molly Rose Kaufman, Co-Director, University of Orange
Michael A. Roberson, Ultra-red
Robert Sember, Part-time Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts, Eugene Lang College, The New School
This event is followed by a discussion on the impact of Maurice Berger’s work, with Courtney R. Baker, Lonnie G. Bunch III, Nona Faustine, David Gonzalez, and Sarah Lewis, moderated by Kinshasha Holman Conwill. It concludes with a video tribute by some of Maurice Berger’s colleagues and peers, and VLC Fellow Sarah Rothenberg’s piano recital of Morton Feldman’s last composition, Palais de Mari, recorded earlier this year and dedicated to Berger.
The Vera List Center Forum 2020 launches the center’s 2020-2022 focus theme, As for Protocols. Curated by Carin Kuoni and Eriola Pira, it is organized with the support of Adrienne Umeh, Heran Abate, Joshua van Biema, and Maryna Arabei.
The Vera List Center Forum 2020 is made possible by major support from Jane Lombard and the Kettering Fund, as well as the Boris Lurie Art Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and The New School as well as members of the Vera List Center's board and other individuals.
This tribute reflects on the seminal contributions by Vera List Center inaugural fellow Maurice Berger. It is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, with the support of Marvin Heiferman.