Alpha to Omega of Our Athens Nostalgia: F is for Fence

Did you experience a distinct sense of déjà vu (or, more accurately, déjà vécu) when you found Olaf Holzapfel’s Zaum (Fence), 2017 waiting for you in Athens? What did you think when confronted by this artist, which the Daybook tells us, ‘was born in a country that no longer exists, and whose coming-of-age involved crossing a border between the East-West divide of the Cold War era’? Did you reflect on your own interstitial spaces? Were you haunted by the walls and fences of the country you call home (if it still exists) and your own work in making it safe, or at least making it home safe? Or were you brought back to the electroacoustic audio and video work by your fellow countrywoman you saw the day before in EMST? The work with its interesting use of text, about intersex, the biological designation? The work called Interstices, which you remembered as being called Interstitial? The work you recorded the last 6 minutes of on your phone, so as not to forget, leaving the first 12 for the future (or its forgetting)? Back to the next day and Holzapfel’s Zaum, did you imagine when faced with the central imposing fence of hay and wood, both an open and closed structure, that one day it too would be gone and left as a memory? Of course, as you know, exhibitions open and close, come and go, but when you were there before it, did you contemplate today, the last day of documenta 14 in Athens, and that tomorrow the removal or dismantling process would begin? When the Long Walls of Athens were built, were there any thoughts of the future of their destruction at the hands of the Roman general Sulla? Or, before fences are built, do you think it is helpful for us to meditate on their eventual toppling? Does your own work help keep this trauma and the future in our sights? We can believe so.


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