dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel

dOCUMENTA (13)
exhibition dates: 9.06 – 16.09 2012

In June 2012 dOCUMENTA (13) will open in Kassel, with more than 160 artists and participants showcasing new artworks in multiple venues across the entire city, demonstrating how contemporary art can contribute to our understanding of the world.

dOCUMENTA (13) is located in an apparent simultaneity of places and times, and it is articulated through four main positions corresponding to conditions in which people, in particular artists and thinkers, find themselves acting in the present. Far from being exhaustive of all the positions that a subject can take, they acquire their significance in their interrelation. The four conditions that are put into play within the mental and the real spaces of the project are the following:

On stage. I am playing a role, I am a subject in the act of re-performing.

Under siege. I am encircled by the other, besieged by others.

In a state of hope, or optimism. I dream, I am the dreaming subject of anticipation.

On retreat. I am withdrawn, I choose to leave the others, I sleep.

These four conditions relate to the four locations in which dOCUMENTA (13) is physically and conceptually sited—Kassel, Kabul, Alexandria/Cairo, and Banff. These places are phenomenal spatialities that embody the four conditions, blurring the associations that are typically made with those places and conditions, and which are instead constantly shifting and overlapping.

Each position is a state of mind, and relates to time in a specific way: while the retreat suspends time, being on stage produces a vivid and lively time of the here and now, the continuous present; while hope releases time through the sense of a promise, of time opening up and being unending, the sense of being under siege compresses time, to the degree that there is no space beyond the elements of life that are tightly bound around us.

Artists, artworks, and events occupy these four positions simultaneously.

In Kassel, besides the traditional main venues of documenta, the Fridericianum, the documenta-Halle, and the Neue Galerie—museum spaces and white cubes—dOCUMENTA (13) takes place in a variety of other spaces that represent different physical, psychological, historical, cultural realms and realities. It takes place in spaces devoted to natural and technical science, such as the Ottoneum and the Orangerie. And it takes place in little components throughout the Baroque Karlsaue park, suggesting a particular mode of proximity by way of the spatially diffused aggregation of elements that also maintains their own singularities. Counterparts to the park are the industrial spaces behind the former Hauptbahnhof, once Kassel’s main train station but now only used for local transport—a dystopian space connected to the factory world that produced the military tanks for the
National Socialist regime in the twentieth century and that is still adjacent to the factories. And it takes place in a variety of “bourgeois” spaces of a different order, off the main venues, places that are still in normal use or, on the other hand, places that have been forgotten and “removed.”

dOCUMENTA (13) takes a spatial or, rather, “locational” turn, highlighting the significance of a physical place, but at the same time aiming for dislocation and for the creation of different and partial perspectives—an exploration of micro-histories on varying scales that link the local history and reality of a place with the world, and the worldly.
The dance was very frenetic, lively, rattling, clanging, rolling, contorted and lasted for a long time

dOCUMENTA (13) opens to the public in Kassel on June 9, 2012. For 100 days, over 150 artists from 55 countries and other participants from around the world will gather and present artworks, including sculpture, performance, installation, research, archiving and curatorial projects, painting, photography, film and video, text and audio works as well as other objects and experiments in the fields of art, politics, literature, philosophy, and science.


Karlsaue Park, a venue of dOCUMENTA (13)

For the Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, “dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory and epistemological closures. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. It is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people. Participants of dOCUMENTA (13) come from a range of fields of activity. Most of them are artists, but some also come from the fields of science, including physics and biology, eco-architecture and organic agriculture, renewable-energy research, philosophy, anthropology, economic and political theory, language and literature studies, including fiction and poetry. They contribute to dOCUMENTA (13) that aims to explore how different forms of knowledge lie at the heart of the active exercise of re-imagining the world. What some of these participants do, and what they “exhibit” in dOCUMENTA (13), may or may not be art. However, their acts, gestures, thoughts, and knowledges produce and are produced by circumstances that are readable by art, aspects that art can cope with and absorb.”

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