Writing Prompt: “25 Lies and 25 Truths” by Sara Magenheimer

Write 25 lies. Write 25 truths. Braid them together. Add in anything else you want until it feels right.

I often use video as a trojan horse through which to sneak writing into my work and into the classes I teach.

This prompt, which comes from a video assignment, encourages simple, direct language in a time when language feels extra slippery and the concrete virtually unattainable.The idea that we can even know what is true and what is a lie is highly questionable.

More than anything this prompt demarcates a moment in which to explore what you find to be true or false and then play with the elasticity between these presupposed opposites. As we all know, truth is only true until it is revealed to be otherwise and some lies are just waiting to be shown in a truer light. These categories are as malleable as the language through which they are conveyed.

About the author

Working across a range of media including video, performance, sculpture, collage, installation, and writing, New york-based artist Sara Magenheimer disrupts, manipulates, and defamiliarizes language with bold combinations of image and text. Magenheimer has shown work in galleries and institutions such as The New Museum, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The Kitchen, Foxy Production, Chapter NY, and more. Her videos have been screened at the Flaherty Seminar, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The New York Film Festival, Images Festival, Toronto, Anthology Film Archives, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Magenheimer is an assistant professor in the New Media Department at SUNY Purchase College.


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