Take Care by Jeff Dolven

Jeff Dolven’s Take Care and its companion—Sally O’Reilly’s The Ambivalents—are the result of an unusual experiment. The fifth and sixth volumes of Cabinet’s “24-Hour Book” series, respectively, they were written in the exact same twenty-four-hour period, with Dolven installed at Cabinet’s gallery space in New York and O’Reilly working in a room at the Inner Temple in London. Both writers were asked to respond to a prompt, which was revealed to them one day in advance. The prompt took the form of a found document—the 1986 catalogue for Braintree Scientific, an American company that manufactures lab products used in experiments on rats and mice. (A pdf of the catalogue is available here. Readers may wish to consult it before reading this book.)

Dolven’s book—a meditation on care and caring—imagines the catalogue itself as the trace of an experiment into the place of animals in the late-century scientific culture of the United States, an experiment that vacillates between the techne that frames animal testing and a desire to give solace to creatures on the verge of death.

Advance praise for the book
“Like Ding Ning or a fly, Jeff Dolven perceives time differently. This can be the only explanation for Take Care. To sound the depths of humanity through so narrow an aperture as the Braintree Scientific Inc. Catalog within twenty-four hours is a stunning feat of piercing, lateral thought. In a single day, Dolven has winkled from this inventory of gruesome equipment the momentous assumptions, shorthand, and oversights routinely embedded in such shrouded fields of practice.”
—Sally O’Reilly, author of The Ambivalents

About Cabinet’s “24-Hour Book” series
Inspired by literary precedents such as automatic writing, by the resourcefulness of the bricoleur making do with what is at hand, and by the openness toward chance that all artistic production under severe constraint must necessarily incorporate, Cabinet’s “24-Hour Book” series invites distinguished authors and artists to be incarcerated in an unfamiliar space to complete a project from start to finish within twenty-four hours.

About Jeff Dolven
Jeff Dolven is a critic and poet who teaches at Princeton University. He is the author of two books of criticism, Scenes of Instruction (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and Senses of Style (University of Chicago Press, 2017), and a book of poems, Speculative Music (Sarabande, 2013). He has written frequently for Cabinet on topics ranging from player pianos to poisoned milk, and is an editor-at-large for the magazine.

Cabinet wishes to thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of this project.

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