I am writing this Minus Plato post on my phone, while sitting in the car outside MOCA Cleveland, waiting for my son to wake up from a nap. Inside may lie in wait an exhibition, an artist, an artwork, that could be the subject of a future Minus Plato post. But all I can do now is sit here and gaze out the window at the rain rolling off that sleek, angular building, like a child with his face pressed up against a closed toy store window.
It does, however, give me a few moments to reflect on the past 3 and a half years of writing Minus Plato in this my 100th post. Little did I know back in May 2012 that I would be still writing this blog today and how important it would become for my life and work. It has been the place for me to take notes, share thoughts, to record and reflect on the dynamic between Classics and Modern/Contemporary Art via my OSU teaching experiments and collaborations with some incredible artists.
Yet thinking back to the very beginning of Minus Plato today has a very specific resonance that I have to admit I was completely oblivious to at the time. Thanks to a series of fortuitous encounters this past summer, I have become obsessed with the memory and legacy of dOCUMENTA(13).
It all happened when, on the flight back from Cuba for the 12th Havana Biennial, I read an anthology of Frieze reviews of the previous editions of the Kassel extravaganza, released before the unfathomable 13th edition. This experience was further enriched by my reading of the wonderful Enrique Vila-Matas novel The Illogic of Kassel, about his role at dOCUMENTA(13) as a ‘writer in residence’ at the Chinese restaurant on the edge of the town and how he broke free of what he was asked to do to engage with the stimulating and mind-expanding works of art on show elsewhere in Kassel. Since then, I have met, corresponded and even collaborated with artists who took part in dOCUMENTA(13) (Paul Chan, Seth Price), as well as the editor of the brilliantly ambitious 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts series, Bettina Funke. I have forked out on and studied the 3 publications from the event, visited the website, watched videos, read reviews, all the time imagining what it would have been like to have actually been there. But until this moment, sitting in the car in rainy Cleveland, this obsession happened without me making the connection between the opening of dOCUMENTA(13) and the beginning of my blog Minus Plato back in the early summer of 2012. What could it mean to here and now register that I was embarking on Minus Plato at the same time as dOCUMENTA(13) was about to be unleashed on the world? Everything? Nothing?
In future posts I am sure that I will write explicitly about this obsession I have with dOCUMENTA(13), about a letter to Lacan in ancient Greek, about Foucault’s reading of Seneca, about Lucretius and ancient Skepticism, about volumes, emperors, dogs and other curious things. I will also post about the next Doucumenta – documenta 14 -, and see if its theme ‘Learning from Athens’ calls for an exploration of antiquity as well as the contemporary question of debt (note the symbol of the new Documenta is the owl of the ancient drachma as much as the symbol for the goddess and her wisdom).
For now, however, for this my 100th post, I merely want to acknowledge this moment of realization of an uncanny coincidence as I look back to 2012 and forward to my imminent visit to MOCA Cleveland, as my son gently snores away.
Thank you all for reading Minus Plato in the past, today and in the future!