Kassel Documenta Diary Day 3: Structural Contingency at Karlsaue Park, Coda

07:11     Wake up in my room at the Hessenland Days Inn, the same hotel where Enrique Vila-Matas stayed during dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012 (when it was called the Grand City Hotel, Hessenland), and where Gerald Byrne’s film A man and a woman make love was shown in the ballroom.

07:16     Look out window at the view of the Torwache enveloped in the installation by Ibrahum Mahama and the Hessisches Landesmuseum where I visited on my first full day in Kassel, and was transfixd by the work of Gauri Gill, whose work I missed in the Epigraphical Museum in Athens. As on the previous two days, I take a photograph of the view.

07:45     Leave my hotel, turning left into Friedrichstrasse, cross the street to number 28 where Paul Chan’s Volumes – inncompleteset was exhibited in 2012. Now it seems to be a yoga studio.

07:46     Walk past the annex to the hotel where Tino Sehgal’s This Variation was performed at dOCUMENTA (13), peering through the dirty glass. Then, on the corner of the street, look up at the work of Lawrence Weiner called THE MIDDLE OF THE MIDDLE OF THE MIDDLE OF, which was made for dOCUMENTA (13) and is still there.

07:48     Walk towards the park, while also looking for the site of Theaster Gates’ 2012 project 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, only to later realize it was the building with the Weiner on the wall. Pass CineStar where yesterday I saw Douglas Gordon’s film I had nowhere to go about Jonas Mekas.

07:49     Walk along the path behind the Neue Galerie where I spent hours on my first full day and which I called ‘the reader’ of documenta 14 in an earlier blog-post. Notice the two caryatids for the first time. These sisters make me think of Athens for the first time today.

08:14     After several attempts to get into the park from the street, enter at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, and walk along the David Harding Beckett piece I missed in Athens.

08:23 Discover  Benjamin Patterson’s audio work When Elephants Fight, It Is the Frogs That Suffer, listening as I cross the bridge and then continue to listen to them and think about the Patterson’s frogs in the garden of the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens. Remember how I took a long video only to lose it when I erased some of my photos and videos from Athens by mistake. Took this photo of the speakers that produce the work, covered in leaves and branches.

08:34     Walk to the large lake area and take a photo of the place where Sam Durant’s wooden scaffolding work was placed in 2012 for dOCUMENTA (13). Wonder what the mound was doing in its place today in 2017.

08:37     Head off in search of the remnants of Pierre Huyghe’s Untilled

08:42     Enter into the space where Untilled used to be and still see remnants of the work (hills of dirt, tractor tires, various strange plants).

Take a photograph comparing what I was seeing to a photograph in a book of the 2012 work.

Wonder whether they are in fact traces of the work, or just of a still functioning compost plant. Not knowing makes me feel even happier to be there.

09:04 Walk to the Chinese restaurant where Enrique Vila-Matas and other authors sat for the Writers’ Residency.

09:26  Look for other works from 2012, including the building where Anna Maria Maiolino had her work, relating it to the publication produced at the time.

09:40  Leaving dOCUMENTA (13) behind, I look for the three remaning documenta 14 works that I described yesterday – in the prelude to this post today – as contingent structures.

Lois Weinberger’s Ruderal Society: Excavating the Garden, recalling the documentation for the project that I saw previously at the Torwache.

Olaf Holzapfel’s Trassen (Lines), which transported me to Athens, and the wooden structure of his Zaum series as ASFA and made me think about the difference between a line and a border wall.

In the same site in Athens I saw the installation by Cuidad Abierta, which was echoed in the work here. Paused to think about the part of the work called the ‘Hospitality Pavilion’ and how the contingency of this structure was on account of its need for people to occupy it.

10:01     Walked to the WestPavillon of the Orangerie and thought about Anri Sala’s clock from 2012.

10:24 Headed to the Press and Information Center to get a ticket for the car to take me to the Ballhaus to take me to see Narimane Mari’s film Le fort des fous, which I failed to see in Athens.

Went upstairs for a coffee in part of Aristide Antonas’ Empty University – made me think of ASFA in Athens. And also EMST, where I wanted to steal the floor-text stone marker with Christopher D’Arcangelo’s name on it (in the spirit of his work). Instead, today, I stole the wall text here (sorry Aristide!). Document the theft.

11:08  Visit the Museum Fur Sepulkralkaltur Sepkucultur and startled to find the missing ‘thing’ from Roger Bernat’ The Place of the Thing that I saw documentation for and an empty plinth in the Neue Neue Galerie the day before.

Inside the museum, I soak up the documentation of the Collective Exhibition for a Single Body that I missed at the Archaelogical Museum of Pireaus in Athens. Find another unexpected ancient stone (or at least a photograph of one).

11:38     After Grimmwelt Kassel and an expansive, more expansive than Athens, Roee Rosen installation, I listened in to Susan Hiller’s Lost and Found which had echoes of the Athens Odeion.

11:51     At the Palais Bellevue see several rooms of Holzapfel’s works, transporting me both back to the park and to similar works in Athens.

Enter a room with a photograph of Rebecca Belmore’s marble tent, which I sat in on Philappopu hill, but here it facing a Ross Birrell and David Harding (whose Becket stones and words I’d seen in the park as well). Listened to this slow first movement of Gorecki’s 3rd. Felt a pang of nostalgia for Athens among other things.

12:07     Walked to the underground Kulturbahnhof, to find Zafos Xagoraris’ welcoming gate sending me home to his niche in Athens.

13:22     Walk past Olu Oguibe’s obelisk, his Monument for strangers and refugees in Konigplatz – one of the few works in Kassel I made sure I passed by every day.

13:30     Decide I had too much to see and couldn’t go to Mari’s film, so missing it for a second time.

13:41     Head to Peppermint and the office library of Lucius and Annemarie Burckhardt and have a vague recollection of another space with their two names on it, beyond documenta 14.

13:46     Revisit Banu Cennetoglu’s work at the Fridericanum – another work I made sure to gaze at every chance I could and remembered the mistake I made in the Gennadius Library in Athens (mistaking some stones on the ground for her ‘diary’ of stones on a bookshelf).

14:10     Go back to have a shower and leave my bag so as not to have any cloakroom hassle later. There were far fewer cloakrooms in Athens and I could take my bag of books to many more places.

15.14 In the Fridericanum, see Andreas Angelidakis’s decomposed Polemos which I sat on to listen to Didi-Huberman on Tuesday night.

15:17 Taking a deep breath and thinking about the building in Athens, I visit Antidoron: Works from the EMST collection – wondering if when I return to Athens it will be an empty building or full of these works I was about to see in Kassel? I saw Takis’s gong, Chryssa’s books, George Hadjimichalis’ Crossroad (about Oedipus); Bia Davou’s Sails and Pillars and Clouds, Hans Haacke documenta 2 photos (there’s a Liverpool story here) and documentation for Stephen Antonakos Incomplete Neon Square for documenta 6.

Emily Jacir’s tent reminded me of Mounira Al Solh’s tent in the Islamic Art Museum in Athens, Panos Kokkinias’ huge photograph Nisyros reminded me of Vivian Suter’s canvases on the hill of the muses; Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s film Stared at Beauty So Much: Waiting for the Barbarians made me think of the title of next year’s Athens Biennial.

The drawing and painting of Pasolini by Ilias Papailiakis took me back to Bouchra Khalili’s The Tempest Society at Gottschalk-Halle, while the suitcases of Alexis Arkithakis both reminded me of his work in Alexander Iolas’ house as photographed by William E. Jones in Fall into Ruin and also represented the EMST collection situation in a nutshell – on the road, but behind bars. Feel both attracted and revolted by material used by Stathis Logothetis’ work.

16:11     Head for a quick run through the Naturkundemuseum Im Ottoneum, where I am back in Vivian’s garden and see the spaces left by Dale Harding’s Body of Objects from EMST in Athens.

16:24  Pass by Hiwa K, no time here to write all I want to about Hiwa K, especially the film in the Athens Odeion.

16:26     Take a rare selfie in a singular work by Andre du Colombier, evoking memories of a floor work in the Athens Odeion.

17:12 Go to meet the three Athenians for Mattin’s Social Dissonance, my 8th time between Athens and Kassel, but this time I’m on their side and in charge of the camera.

Witness debate about sexual liberation while trapped behind the camera.

20:15 Return to Bei Ali, its last night before the holiday, with the three Athenians and their freinds.

20:21     Then end the evening at a party with singing and music at the community park in honor of Lucius and Annemarie Burckhardt (that is where I heard of them before).

21:48     Leave the party, saying goodbye to my three Athenian friends, their Kassel-based friends and Athens-based visitors. Walk past Oguibe’s monument again.

22:30     Try to write yesterday’s blog post in my hotel room, but the internet is down. Write the ‘prelude’ to this post on my phone.

23:56     While drifting off to sleep, I receive a message with this photo from one of the three Athenians.

This gives me the idea of writing a series of posts, which I will start tomorrow, documenting my friends’ daily life in Kassel and at documenta 14, away from their home in Athens. It will be called Three Athenians in Kassel: A Soap Opera in 12 Episodes.

00:02 Fall asleep, and wake up in Malaga 24 hours later, where I write this post.

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