Year End Dish

Year End Dish is a brunch organized by Hard to Read]’s **Fiona Duncan and scholar Sara Constantino around the role of gossip—taken here as rumors, public secrets, unstable morsels of information that quickly and selectively flow through networks, affirming communal bonds but also circumventing regimes of control, whether parental, governmental or social, especially important for communities with little political and socioeconomic agency. Over pancakes, coffee, and mimosas, Fiona, Sara, and their guests will read a selection of texts and discuss the ambivalent position of gossip as a form of communication throughout contemporary history, its recent revival as an area of study in anthropology and sociology due to increasing concern over manipulation of information, surveillance and persecution of minority groups, as well as how it relates to art practices and our everyday lives.

This event follows-up on two live readings and a publication produced by Fiona Duncan of Hard to Read on gossip, hearsay, rumor, and myth in Spring 2018, as well as on scholar Sara Constantino’s recent forays into the role of gossip as it relates to communities, social ties (kinship), and power throughout history (see Federici, Stewart, etc.), alongside its anthology (Butterworth, Qualmann, etc.) Year End Dish will specifically address how gossip intersects with and is visualized in various art practices (Carrion, Lozano, Black) and art communities—like NAVEL—in general. Brunch was selected for its associations with leisure, friendship, and gossip.

*Gluten free and glutenous options will be served.


Fiona Alison Duncan is a Canadian-American writer, bookseller, and organizer. She’s the organizing host of Hard to Read, a lit series, and Pillow Talk, community organizing on sex, love, and communication. Her first novel is forthcoming in fall 2019.

Sara Constantino is a cross-disciplinary teacher, researcher and writer, working on topics at the intersection of ecology, economics, sociology, computer and cognitive sciences. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and was formerly the associate editor of Nature Human Behavior and deputy economist at The Economist. She has a Master’s Degree in economics from University College London and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from New York University. Currently, she is working on topics including our evolving conceptions of work (e.g. universal basic income), the role of artificial intelligence in various aspects of our daily lives, and how institutions and norms are mediated by social networks and understood in the context of complex ecological systems.

Image by Good Cooking