“Lively and provocative”
“Refreshing to see an artist’s original take on this dialogue; the translation is lively and agile; and the concluding essay is rich in insights about art and life”
“Sense of serious play and lively intelligence on display”
“A fuller, more complex reading of Plato’s classic text”
“Socrates would be proud”
One of Plato’s most controversial dialogues, Hippias Minor details Socrates’s confounding arguments that there is no difference between a person who tells the truth and one who lies, and that the good man is the one who willingly makes mistakes and does wrong and unjust things. But what if Socrates wasn’t championing the act of lying—as it has been traditionally interpreted—but, rather, advocating for a novel way of understanding the power of the creative act?
In this exceptional translation by Sarah Ruden, Hippias Minor is rendered anew as a provocative dialogue about how art is a form of wrongdoing, and that understanding it makes life more ethical by paradoxically teaching one to be more cunning. An introduction by artist Paul Chan situates Hippias Minor in a wider philosophical and historical context, and an essay by classicist Richard Fletcher grapples with the radical implications of this new translation in light of Chan’s work and contemporary art today.
Co-published by DESTE foundation and Badlands Unlimited, this book premiered on the occasion of Paul Chan's exhibition "Hippias Minor" at the DESTE Slaughterhouse Project Space on the island of Hydra in Greece (June 15 - September 30, 2015). This multimedia ebook includes video documentation of the exhibition as well as images from the installation of the works.